With the trade deadline weeks away, teams are emerging as buyers and sellers. Among the sellers are the Ottawa Senators, who’ve obviously bottomed out this season and have little to do but gear up for the future.
The fire sale in Ottawa has been apparent for some time, but there are three interesting pieces here: Mark Stone, Matt Duchene and Ryan Dzingel.
General manager Pierre Dorion has his work cut out for him in terms of getting deals done and trades made, that’s for sure.
But word around the campfire is that there are intentions in Ottawa, with the current plan being to sign Stone and Duchene and entertain offers on Dzingel.
Dzingel has generated interest leaguewide and for good reason. The 26-year-old from Wheaton has 18 goals in 44 games and is on pace for a career year. He’s only known time as a Senator since he was drafted deep in 2011, but the winger has materialized into quite a player. He’s not the most consistent scorer, of course, but his nose for the net makes him an attractive trade piece.
The good news with this type of deal is that it could fetch the Senators a nice return. While the going might be good on Stone and Duchene, especially if they can’t sign, what’s interesting about Dzingel is that he’s getting better and better. He could still turn into quite the player.
Granted, that’s a gamble and that’s part of what the Senators are banking on. They’re selling the sizzle, so it’s a good thing Dzingel’s having a great year. His contract has always been viable, but he could earn himself a healthy raise this season.
Stone and Duchene, on the other hand, are the sort of franchise players Ottawa wants to build with. They would love to sign both at this point and are not in the business of losing them for nothing. The priority is Stone, reports suggest.
The Winnipeg native has 20 goals so far this season and, like Dzingel, will have a career year. His 48 points are making the best of a bad situation, but the Senators see him as the cornerstone to their renewal. He’s a Senators product through-and-through and teams are really interested in seeing if he’s available. Word is that Vegas is one of those clubs heavily interested in Stone.
Duchene has 18 points in 37 games and a touch more baggage, but Ottawa wants him in the fold too and is working on it. Talks had reportedly cooled as of late, but there is evidence to suggest that the Senators are ready to open the doors again.
The next few weeks will be critical for the Senators and the direction their future takes. If they can’t get Stone and Duchene talking contracts in a real-world way, the calls will come in and two of the most attractive and available players will be wide open come February 25.