Matt Duchene is in the final season of his contract and will have the freedom to choose his NHL locale in July, but this week the forward expressed an openness to staying with the Ottawa Senators.
How likely might that outcome be for the 27-year-old talent?
“I think they’ve got three guys they’ve got to really take care of one way or the other,” began Elliotte Friedman during a Thursday evening segment on NHL Network. “And that’s Karlsson, and that’s Duchene, and that’s Mark Stone. And those are big numbers. Ottawa has got to keep somebody. They’re going to have to make offers at some point.
“What I would guess is I think the Senators are going to try to start the season and see kind of how this goes and kind of go from there. I think that last year was such a hard year for them. I think everybody has to kind of figure out where they are - the players, the team, the organization, the ownership - everything.
“And when Matt Duchene says he’d like to stay in Ottawa, I believe him. I don’t see any reason to disbelieve that, but I think there’s two things that have to be figured out here: No. 1 is the money and No. 2 is what direction is the organization trending.
“So I could see a situation where everybody kind of sits and says here, ‘We’re going to see how the season starts and kind of go from there.’”
Duchene is earning $6.5 million this season, with a cap hit for the Senators of $6 million.
The veteran forward does not have any trade protection in that pact.
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