Senators Weekly: Duchene, Stone, Rookies & More

Welcome to Senators’ Weekly, where you can catch up on the past week of the Ottawa Senators throughout the 2018-19 season. From trending topics to surging prospects to news and notes, this is your weekly roundup on all things Sens.

Related – Senators Weekly: Duchene, Stone, Melnyk & More

The Senators entered another week at the bottom of the NHL, and they exit the week in the same spot. They dropped their first two games this week against the Carolina Hurricanes by a score of 4-1 and the Detroit Red Wings, 3-2. They ended the week on a good note, defeating their possible trade partner, the Winnipeg Jets 4-3 in overtime. This next week will not only determine the rest of the season for the Senators, but could impact the future of the club, as the Feb. 25 NHL Trade Deadline approaches.

Here are the notable headlines and stories from the past week.

Latest News on Pending Free Agents: Duchene & Stone

Duchene is Available, Blue Jackets & Islanders Interested

For the entire 2018-19 season, Senators fans have been waiting to hear what is going to happen with number one centreman Matt Duchene. General manager Pierre Dorion and Duchene’s camp have been able to talk about an extension all season, but it seems that Duchene wanted to wait to see what fellow pending unrestricted free agent Mark Stone would do first.

It seems like ages since the Senators offered Duchene a contract extension, but it was only one month ago. Now, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported that the team is officially testing the market for the Haliburton, Ontario native.

Mark Stone speaks with center Matt Duchene
Mark Stone’s decision will impact the future of Matt Duchene (Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports)

As the possibility of a trade looks more and more likely, the rumour mill has a new potential trade partner in on Duchene: the Columbus Blue Jackets. The interest in Duchene is especially interesting for the Blue Jackets considering their own current pending free agent issues with Artemi Panarin. TSN’s Pierre LeBrun explained the interest on Insider Trading.

“I can tell you a name, Matt Duchene, they have interest in if and when the Ottawa Senators make him available. So, what they get for Panarin in a separate deal has to outweigh what they would pay for Duchene in terms of the outlying asset that would remain alive after those two deal. Otherwise, if it’s a wash, why trade Panarin? Why not make him your own rental? That’s what the Blue Jackets are grappling with right now.”

Related: Senators 2019 Trade Deadline Preview

It looks like the New York Islanders are also going to be in on Duchene. After losing John Tavares to free agency, the Islanders have surprised this season and are currently leading the Metropolitan Division. Duchene would add to their top-six and provide a solid one-two punch between he and Matt Barzal.

With just one week to the trade deadline, it looks like the answer will be coming soon. That’s good news for Duchene who told TSN this week that he’s “looking forward to the closure however it ends.”

Senators Look to Re-Sign Stone, Getting Interest from the West

Stone is also picking up interest, and the Jets look like the best fit on paper. He can help bolster their scoring and is actually from Winnipeg. The Jets are reportedly looking for a top-six forward and Stone is one of the best currently available. TSN’s Darren Dreger touches on the Jets’ interest, as well as their limits in a potential trade.

Mark Stone, a Winnipeg native, would be a great fit for the Jets, but what’s the asking price if he hits the market? Cheveldayoff is willing to be aggressive, I wouldn’t say he wants to go all in, especially if it means having to mortgage his future entirely.”

Mark Stone Senators
Mark Stone’s time in Ottawa may be nearing it’s end (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

But the Jets aren’t the only team to have their eye on Stone, or even the only Canadian team. Speaking with Dreger on Insider Trading, LeBrun talks about two other potential suitors for the Senators top scorer.

“We’ve talked before that the Vegas Golden Knights would be a team that would have interest in Mark Stone, the (Golden Knights assistant GM) Kelly McCrimmon connection, but what I would say is, watch out for the Calgary Flames as well.

“Now Brad Treliving, the (Flames) GM, has not made any serious inquiries with all the rentals, he’s analyzing the market and trying to figure out how he’s going to game plan it, but I believe for sure that the Flames, when the time is right, if Stone is made available by the Ottawa Senators will inquire to see what it will take to get him in their lineup.  So, some Canadian contenders perhaps clashing in terms of the services for Mark Stone.”

According to Friedman, the priority for the Senators is still to attempt to re-sign Stone, but if they turn to actively shopping him, a bidding war over their top prize can only be a good thing for the future of the club.

Belleville Getting Prospects Tournament

The Senators organization is looking to get more people into the Belleville Senators home rink, the CAA Arena. The club announced this week that they will be playing host to the 2019 Rookie Showcase Sept. 6-9. The tournament will see the top prospects from the Senators, Jet and Montreal Canadiens face-off, giving fans a look at some of the up-and-comers in the game.

“We are thrilled that the Ottawa Senators, Montreal Canadiens and Winnipeg Jets have all agreed to showcase their prospects at CAA Arena in what will most certainly be a memorable weekend of hockey in the Bay of Quinte region,” said Belleville Senators COO Rob Mullowney. “Rookie tournaments like this one are an incredible demonstration of skill and determination, featuring numerous world class players who have gone on to have outstanding careers with their respective teams.”

Like the NHL club, Belleville has struggled to fill the seats this season, down approximately 600 fans per-game on average from last season. This rookie showcase should help some fans get excited about what is to come from the club.

The Senators Week Ahead

This coming week will be the Senators’ most important week for the future of the club. As the Feb. 25 NHL Trade Deadline is just one week away, major decisions that will impact the club’s rebuild will need to be made this week. There will be many rumours and many trades throughout the league in the next week, and the Senators look to be right in the middle of that.

On top of the news and trades, the Senators have four games this week, playing the Chicago Blackhawks, New Jersey Devils, Blue Jackets and the Flames. Could the Senators be facing off against one of their own by the time they play those last two teams?