OTTAWA – These final days leading up to Monday’s trade deadline are perhaps the most unsure the Senators have ever faced.
Facing the Philadelphia Flyers Saturday afternoon on the heels of Derrick Brassard getting shipped off to Pittsburgh in three-team deal involving the Vegas Golden Knights, things looked flat from Ottawa’s perspective until they came close to mounting a comeback in the third period.
And while most players denied that the trade and loss of their teammate played any role in their sluggish start, which inevitably lead to their 30th regulation loss of the season, many still acknowledged the element of distraction that’s been added to the locker room because of all the chatter about who might be getting moved in the coming days.
“It’s human nature, when you don’t know what you’re waking up to,” said forward Matt Duchene, “When you’re not sure what’s going to happen, it’s really distracting.”
Seeing Dion Phaneuf traded to Los Angeles and Brassard to Pittsburgh is really just the beginning of what’s expected to be a ‘cleaning of house’ of sorts for Ottawa. It’s been a rough season, but management has determined it doesn’t just stop there. More changes are coming.
The list of players still expected to be traded before Monday’s 3:00p.m. (ET) Trade Deadline include Zack Smith, Johnny Oduya, and Ian Cole – one of the four pieces acquired in the Brassard deal, which sent 19-year-old goaltending prospect Filip Gustavsson, a 2018 first round pick and a 2019 third round pick to Ottawa. That’s expected to be a simple one-for-one deal to send another draft pick Ottawa’s way.
Rumors about Mike Hoffman being moved have died down, after it sounded like he could’ve been on the move to St. Louis last week, but there’s still a strong chance he could get dealt, too.
And of course, the all-important question of Erik Karlsson’s future.
At this point, it’s anyone’s guess whether or not he’ll be traded by February 26th. The Sens have kept him away from the media in the days leading up to the deadline, so there’s been no comments from his side on his future in question.
Duchene wants to stay
Another question that’s come to the surface as Pierre Dorion works to re-tool his roster is what Duchene thinks of all this. He requested a trade out of Colorado to move to a contender, as he didn’t want to be a part of a rebuild there.
He addressed that on Saturday.
“Every situation is different,” he said, “I’m excited about the future and I’d love to be a part of the solution here. Right now, I’m just worried about unfortunately saying goodbye to some teammates over the next few days.”
Duchene has another year in his contract before becoming a UFA on July 1st, 2019.
The magnitude of this rebuild still remains unclear for Ottawa. If a Karlsson trade does happen, you can bet their initial hopes of bouncing back with a competitive season for 2018-19 are out the window. But, it makes you think both sides are hoping Duchene could be a part of a core group going forward.
Those thoughts turn to an off-season a little over a year away that carries the weight of the expiring contracts of Mark Stone, Duchene, and Karlsson. But, let’s get past Monday first, and see who still plays for this team.
The Senators will practice on Monday at 12:00p.m ahead of the deadline. After practice, they’ll fly to Washington where they’ll face the Capitals on Tuesday night.
Stuart McGinn is a reporter/anchor with 1310 NEWS, covering the Ottawa Senators. Follow him on twitter here.