The Ottawa Senators are going to need an answer at some point. Matt Duchene understands that, but it doesn’t mean he’s going to feel pressured into making one before his time is up. The pending unrestricted free agent forward spoke to reporters including Bruce Garrioch of Postmedia today, and explained that whether he re-signs in Ottawa or tests the market, the decision will be based on where he thinks he can win.
We’ve been talking, my agent and I have been talking, and, like I said, at the end of the day it’s going to be a hockey decision. I see certain things on TV or in the media and I laugh because I have no idea where they’re coming from.
It’s pretty simple right now. We’re talking about it, we’re looking at it from a hockey perspective and we’ll go from there.
On the latest edition of TSN’s Insider Trading, Bob McKenzie reiterated that nothing has changed between Duchene’s camp and Senators GM Pierre Dorion. The two sides are set to speak again in the next few days, but McKenzie points out how saturated the rental market will be if both Duchene and fellow Senators forward Mark Stone become available. A team that would be interested in both players according to panelist Darren Dreger is the Winnipeg Jets, who have been searching for more forward help throughout the season. Stone, Dreger notes, is from Winnipeg and could be a huge addition for their Stanley Cup run.
But with Duchene, a decision has to be made in the next few weeks in order to give the Senators time to put together a trade if it comes to that. The 28-year old center would be quite an addition for any team looking to contend this season given his outstanding production—47 points in 41 games—but his lack of playoff experience might come as a red flag. Duchene has suited up for just eight playoff contests in his entire career and just two since his rookie season in 2010.
There is now just over three weeks until the February trade deadline, and the Senators are still holding up a good portion of the market with Duchene and Stone. Though defensemen may now have a price set thanks to the Toronto Maple Leafs’ acquisition of Jake Muzzin, the forward market is still unclear. Teams aren’t going to want to spend all of their assets on a lesser player just to find out that Duchene and Stone are available, meaning we may not see a ton of movement until the Senators come to a conclusion. That decision rests on Duchene as far as his future is concerned, and he clearly hasn’t made it yet.