The Ottawa Senators have several key free agent decisions facing them later this season, with both Matt Duchene and Mark Stone needing contracts.
A Wednesday evening panel discussion on Sportsnet examined the situation, and Elliotte Friedman weighed in with his thoughts on the Duchene angle.
“I think the biggest question they’re going to have is that is there a center - when all of these teams who can win the Stanley Cup this year say, ‘We could use a center to help us in the playoffs,’ Matt Duchene is going to be No. 1 on all, if not most, of those lists,” said Friedman. “I just think that one of the questions is going to be for Ottawa, when you’re rebuilding and you’re trying to acquire pieces and you know you don’t have your first-round pick this year, how tempting is it going to be to go out and say, ‘Alright, if we’re going to be able to get some more of these things, is it better to sign these guys or is it better to trade them.’”
Whether or not Duchene is willing to actually sign an extension before the trade deadline will no doubt be the key factor in how this situation plays out.
Duchene’s cap hit is $6 million, and he does not have any trade protection in that pact.
Friedman did add another Senators-related tidbit following his comments on Duchene.
“The other thing I just want to say after watching them in the piece is when Ottawa came to Toronto last year, that was a team you could tell the dressing room was tense, they weren’t getting along,” added the Insider. “We could see, before we knew what was really going on, that it wasn’t a good room.
“They were in Toronto last weekend. We got a chance to see them, It’s different. I think they like the way they’re playing. They like their young players. Chabot had the big goal that night.
“Look, they have a long way to go, but I think that one thing that’s totally different and should be mentioned I think is the attitude around them right now is a lot different.”
The Senators are 1-2-1 through their first four contests.
Contract-related info via CapFriendly