There are plenty of eyes on the Senators right now with the trio of notable pending unrestricted free agents that they need to deal with over the next week and a half. Between that and their position in the standings, many are viewing them as sure-fire sellers leading up to the February 25th trade deadline. However, TSN’s Travis Yost argues that Ottawa should actually be buyers at the deadline (and not because they don’t have their first-round pick). If they wind up moving out Matt Duchene and Mark Stone, they will likely have to either retain some salary or take some contracts back to remain over the salary floor. Accordingly, it would make sense for them to look at taking on some back-diving deals (where the salary is lower than the AAV) and look to leverage their cap room into adding some extra assets from cap-strapped teams.
Elsewhere in the Eastern Conference:
- While Rangers defenseman Adam McQuaid has been viewed as a likely trade candidate given that the team is out of playoff contention and has an expiring contract, Greg Joyce of the New York Post makes a case for New York to keep him around. Brady Skjei, who has struggled this season, has played a lot better alongside the 32-year-old and considering that they have a lot tied into Skjei (he’s signed through 2023-24), would they be better off keeping McQuaid if it helps with his development compared to what they’d get from the mid-round draft pick they’d likely fetch for McQuaid as a rental?
- The Hurricanes and Wild had discussed several larger trade scenarios before ultimately settling on the one-for-one swap of winger Nino Niederreiter and center Victor Rask, GM Don Waddell acknowledged to Chip Alexander of the Raleigh News and Observer. The move has certainly worked out well for Carolina so far as Niederreiter has picked up 10 points (6-4-10) in 11 games since the swap so it will be interesting to see if Waddell decides to try to rekindle those other discussions with Minnesota in the coming days.