The Ottawa Senators want to keep Mark Stone in the nation’s capital.
Stone is set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season and with the Senators decidedly in a rebuild, the consensus feeling was he would have tremendous trade value as he is still only 26-years-old and is in the midst of a breakout season that’s seen him become a point-per-game kind of player.
Despite what he might be able to fetch from teams in the rental market, however, it looks like the Senators are making another push to lock up the talented winger up to a contract extension.
“The word in the past couple of days has been that both the Senators and Stone’s representatives have re-engaged and they’re trying to see if they can find common ground to extend the player,” said Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman during the Headlines segment of Saturday’s Hockey Night in Canada broadcast.
Nick Kypreos believes these extension discussions between Stone and the Senators will come down to the way the contract is put together.
“As far as Stone is concerned, structure and signing bonus continues to be an issue,” Kypreos said. “We saw a guy like [Auston] Matthews get up to 94 per cent all in signing bonus. I don’t think Eugene Melnyk needs to go all-in there, but certainly he has to be in the ballpark of what is acceptable for these superstars in today’s market.”
But while it looks like Ottawa has plans for Stone in their future, this isn’t the case for fellow unrestricted free agent Matt Duchene, who Friedman says the Senators are discreetly shopping in advance of the Feb. 25 trade deadline.
“The word around the league is that Ottawa has quietly begun to put his name out there, see what the offers are — they’re testing the market on No. 95.”
It’s been previously reported that the Senators had been engaged in extension talks with Duchene, and while that still may be the case, what appears to have changed is the openness to see what might be possible in return for him.