The Ottawa Senators are finding out if Mark Stone or Matt Duchene will be sticking with the team. They've made contract offers and wait for a response to see how the team will move forward prior to the trade deadline on February 25, 2019.
It appears the Ottawa Senators and GM Pierre Dorion have taken the first step in keeping one, if not both of their big-time pending free agents in Ottawa. According to Sportsnet's Nick Kypreos, Dorion met with Matt Duchene’s agent last week and presented him with a long-term contract offer.
The offer is said to be in the area of $64 million over eight seasons and considered a fair deal presented by the club. If Duchene chooses not to accept, the Senators understand they will likely be forced to move him in the next few weeks to maximize their return and avoid him testing the free agency market and departing for no return at all.
Kypreos also reports that part of the reason for that offer coming when it did was to show Duchene the organization is serious about keeping him.
Kypreos also added that the offer is strategic in timing. “I would think that would probably come with a soft deadline as well,” Kypreos explains. If Duchene declines to accept the deal, “I would think Pierre Dorion would need at least two weeks to shop him and get the best deal available.”
Kypreos' panel partner for Sportsnet, Elliotte Friedman added, he believes the Senators also presented an offer to Mark Stone. “They met with Stone on Monday, a couple of days before they met with Matt Duchene. I believe they also presented something that they are willing to take a look at.”
What This Means
This might be the final effort by the Senators to see if both Duchene and Stone are going to stay in Ottawa or test the free agent market. Speculation is that Stone wants to stay but the allure of big money on the open market might be too much to turn down. Duchene has been offered a fair deal but if he thinks he can hit a home run on the open market, he may decline to sign and that means a trade out of Ottawa is a matter of when and not if.