The Senators are making a last-ditch effort to try to re-sign Mark Stone, but teams are chomping at the bit to acquire the winger via trade.
Bob McKenzie had a Wednesday evening pregame TV hit on NBCSN.
After transitioning from a story on Matt Duchene, the Insider was asked how optimistic Senators fans should be when it comes to Mark Stone sticking around in Ottawa.
“Not sure I would necessarily throw the word ‘optimistic’ around when it comes to Mark Stone with the Ottawa Senators,” cautioned McKenzie. “But I will say this: Last week there’s every reason to believe the Ottawa Senators put a major push on to try to give Mark Stone enough to think about that maybe, just maybe, he would stay and remain with the Ottawa Senators.
“And my understanding is that that last-ditch effort to try and sign Mark Stone, that the dialogue continued over the course of this day, and that this thing is likely to come to a head and hit the crossroads one way or the other on Thursday.
“Now, I know I’ve been saying that for days, if not weeks, that it’s coming to a head and the crossroads are coming. But with the Senators playing the Devils on Thursday, I would think that the Sens are going to want to know before the game where things stand with Mark Stone, and that Mark Stone is going to have to make a decision here real soon.
“And obviously, if he’s not prepared to further negotiate or sign with the Ottawa Senators, then he may well end up with the very same fate as Matt Duchene, being held out of the lineup.
“Although I should point out the Senators are not even admitting that Duchene is going to be held out of the lineup.”
McKenzie was pressed for potential destinations for Stone.
“The Winnipeg Jets are all over this,” replied the Insider. “Even with the Charlie Coyle pending trade with the Boston Bruins, there’s reason to believe the Boston Bruins would be all over this.
“I can tell you this: There are a ton of teams in the National Hockey League that are in a bit of a lather right now because they’re calling Pierre Dorion, they want to know what’s going to happen with Stone. For now they’ve been put off to the side, and they’re getting frustrated because the deadline is on Monday.
“And Stone would be the No. 1 target, bar none - ahead of Panarin, ahead of Duchene, ahead of everybody - at this deadline, if he were made available.”
Stone is on a one-year, $7.35 million contract, and he can become an unrestricted free agent this summer.
Contract-related info via CapFriendly