It’s nearly make or break time with the Ottawa Senators and potential contract extensions or trades with Matt Duchene and Mark Stone.
Bob McKenzie had a Monday morning radio hit on Montreal’s TSN 690.
The lead-in to this particular question involved a quick reflection on how the three-way trade between the Colorado Avalanche, Nashville Predators, and Senators including Duchene worked out or didn’t work out for each team.
“This for the Ottawa Senators is looking kind of catastrophic at this point, isn’t it?”
“Yeah, it’s certainly sub-optimal,” chuckled McKenzie. “Take your pick of the adjectives. And then you don’t know what the return is going to be yet either because we haven’t really seen any of the high-end rentals go. We don’t know what exactly the Senators will have to show for it.
“The Duchene thing, there was constant dialogue and communication. There continues to be. But it’s what I described as a slow-play situation, where it seems like neither side wanted to bring anything to a head.
“Ottawa didn’t want to say to Duchene, ‘Okay, you’ve got until Tuesday at noon or we’re going to trade you.’ It’s more along the lines of, ‘You’ve got our offer. Let us know if everything is okay and we can do a deal.’ Duchene is like, ‘Yeah, okay. That’s good. I’ll sleep on that.’
“Everybody is just kind of slow-playing it, and at some point here Ottawa has obviously gone back to the notion of trying to trade him, and that’s what Dregs basically reported.
“The only reason we don’t say it unequivocally is because they’re going to talk trade. Pierre Dorion and Peter MacTavish and Jim Clark - the management team of the Ottawa Senators - they’ve been in Winnipeg since I think it was Tuesday or Wednesday they went out there, and they were still there yesterday watching the Manitoba Moose and meeting with Kevin Cheveldayoff and Mark Chipman, the owner of the Winnipeg Jets, during that Moose game.
“So they’ll go out and find out what they can get for Duchene. And before they pull the trigger on the trade, because the official door has not been slammed shut on re-signing, they’ll go back and say one final time, ‘Okay, are you sure you don’t want to sign. Now is the moment of truth because if you don’t, now we’re going to trade you.’ And they’ve got the trade ready to go. So that’s how that one is being played.”
Duchene is in the final stretch of his five-year, $30 million contract, with unrestricted free agency on the horizon July 1.
“The Stone one is different because for the longest time, all we heard was dialogue with Duchene, nothing with Stone,” continued McKenzie. “Only in the past number of days, probably mid-to-late last week, it seemed like the Sens really stepped up their game to try and get something going with Mark Stone, and gave him some serious things to think about. I think that’s probably the best way I could put it.
“And I think because they’ve had a rash of games here, including a game today against the Chicago Blackhawks, Stone I think is just contemplating what he’s got in front of him here. And I think sometime after today they’ll make a decision on that and we’ll figure out for sure whether Stone is available too. But it’s certainly leaning in that direction. But as I say, we’ve got to do the correct play-by-play of this, and not jump to conclusions too soon.”
Stone is playing out a one-year, $7.35 million contract, and can become a UFA this summer for the first time in his career.
Contract-related info via CapFriendly