Dreger: ‘There was never a hard negotiation with Matt Duchene’

So where do things stand between the Ottawa Senators and pending UFAs Matt Duchene and Mark Stone?

Darren Dreger had a Monday evening radio hit on Toronto’s TSN 1050.

The Insider was asked to follow up on his weekend tweet.

“Initially it was all about the likelihood of Matt Duchene signing,” noted Dreger. “And we were reporting about the dialogue between Brisson and Dorion, and Brisson flew to Ottawa to meet with Dorion and all of those things.

“And then I think they decided, ‘Look, before we try and sign off on Duchene…’ - and in fairness to Duchene, at no point did he ever say, ‘Alright, we’re getting closer. Let’s just button a few things down.’ So there was good talk. There was never a hard negotiation with Matt Duchene.

“And then Ottawa turned and said, ‘Alright, well if Matt Duchene needs more time to think about this, let’s take another run at Mark Stone and see if we can’t get that locked up.’ And so that’s probably been going on now for the last 10 days to two weeks.

“And late last week, our sense is Ottawa took another run - a very creative run - at Mark Stone; creative in the sense of term, maybe a higher AAV, and it made that group stop and think.

“But they need an answer. It’s game day today, so Mark Stone probably isn’t worrying about that. They’re off tomorrow, they don’t play Wednesday, and then they play Thursday, Friday, Sunday.

“So educated speculation, I mean he’s probably going to tell Ottawa tomorrow or Wednesday he’s willing to continue to negotiate or he’s out.”

Duchene is in the final season of a five-year, $30 million contract, while Stone is on a one-year, $7.35 million pact. Each player can become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

Contract-related info via CapFriendly