Speculation is that while the Ottawa Senators were looking to come to terms on a new contract for Matt Duchene, talks have cooled.
Chris Johnston of Sportsnet reported on Saturday evening during the Headlines segment that the Ottawa Senators and pending UFA Matt Duchene were working on a new deal but as the two sides are still far apart, things may be getting farther away from working out and Johnston says terms between the two sides are not close.
Duchene has been a bright spot for the Senators in an otherwise tumultuous season. With 42 points in 37 games, he is second on the team in scoring (behind only Mark Stone, who is also a free agent) and is going to want big-time money on an extension. Unlike Stone who is rumored to want to stay in Ottawa, Duchene is speculated not to be married to the organization and happy enough to get the best deal on the open market.
Bruce Garrioch is reporting that Senators GM Pierre Dorion will meet again Duchene's agent Pat Brisson, but Johnston doesn't think that's true and is reporting that there are no scheduled talks for the upcoming weeks. Johnston said, “clearly, as this slides along here, we are looking at him [Duchene] as a potential target in that trade deadline period." Johnston added that he doesn't get the sense from Duchene’s side that there’s any rush on a decision, something that may not work for the Senators.
If Duchene is traded, this will likely rule out any chances the Senators can make the postseason and will certainly signal the team is moving towards a rebuild.
What This Means
There are players to watch as the NHL Trade Deadline creeps closer but it seems fairly clear, the player to watch right now is Duchene. He's bound to get one of the larger contracts in the summer and there will be plenty of teams interested in acquiring his services.