The Senators are certainly hoping to be able to ink Mark Stone and Matt Duchene to extensions, but trade interest in the pair could be intense.
Pierre LeBrun had a Wednesday afternoon radio hit on Ottawa’s TSN 1200.
At one point, as part of a larger conversation, the Insider was asked what the market might be for Duchene and Stone if the Senators were forced to go down that road and deal them before next month’s trade deadline.
“The thing about Duchene is he’d be if not the only top-echelon center available, certainly the top one anyway, if there’s more than one center,” observed LeBrun. “I’m with you, I think Stone is an absolute superstar, a stud.
“As I wrote today in my notebook in The Athletic, the Senators need a franchise win here. They need to absolutely re-sign Mark Stone. I feel like you have to re-sign Mark Stone. He’s younger and he a Senators product - drafted, developed - and then Duchene would be a bonus, right. That’s the way I kind of looked at it.
“And if Stone doesn’t re-sign - and I really take Stone to his word that I think he is interested in doing just that, re-signing - but if negotiations don’t go well - I’ve got to tell you, I know teams are absolutely salivating at a shot at trading for him.
“And as I keep telling people, it doesn’t mean it’s going to end up being them if he’s available, but the Kelly McCrimmon connection to Vegas is so strong in terms of the relationship between Stone and McCrimmon. So I’d be shocked if George McPhee didn’t try to get into it, although when Vegas tried a number of times on Karlsson, it didn’t end up too well for them. So I don’t know if that has any impact on things.
“But nevermind just Vegas, if Mark Stone becomes available - oh my goodness - the market’s beyond belief for him.
“But Duchene, because he’s a center and he’s a heck of a player, he would have a ton of appeal too. Those guys are so rarely available.”
Duchene is wrapping up a five-year, $30 million contract, and can become an unrestricted free agent this summer.
Stone is on a one-year, $7.35 million pact, and can also become a UFA in July.
Contract-related info via CapFriendly