While the Ottawa Senators seem to be starting the 2018-19 season on the right foot, we have to be honest and admit that no one thought they could manage to produce offense like they have in their first four games. After all, they ended up winning 5-3 against the menacing Toronto Maple Leafs on their second contest of the season, and have scored more than three goals in each game since Oct. 4th. However, no one can picture them becoming a Stanley Cup contender for the upcoming spring, even being one of the teams clinching a playoff spot for the postseason...
There, Sens general manager Pierre Dorion might already be planning a trade that will shock everyone at the deadline on February 25, 2019. During a Wednesday evening panel discussion on Sportsnet, NHL insider Elliotte Friedman mentioned that he wouldn't be surprised if a Cup contender would call the Senators about acquiring the services of Matt Duchene and Ottawa pulling the move to support its ongoing rebuilding phase.
“I think the biggest question they’re going to have is that is there a center - when all of these teams who can win the Stanley Cup this year say, ‘We could use a center to help us in the playoffs,’ Matt Duchene is going to be No. 1 on all, if not most, of those lists,” said Friedman. “I just think that one of the questions is going to be for Ottawa, when you’re rebuilding and you’re trying to acquire pieces and you know you don’t have your first-round pick this year, how tempting is it going to be to go out and say, ‘Alright, if we’re going to be able to get some more of these things, is it better to sign these guys or is it better to trade them.’”
As of now, Duchene has said that he is not looking to complete a contract extension with the Senators at the moment, wanting to focus on the season. Duchene, whose cap hit is $6 million, does not have any trade protection in the deal, has mentioned that he is open to staying in Ottawa, however, if an agreement isn't in place ahead of the deadline, he could end up somewhere else.
Duchene and forward Mark Stone are both needing contract before the next campaign, and surely the trade chatter will not stop until their names are on the dotted lines in Ottawa...Until then, Senators fans should be ready for any shocking move!