The Ottawa Senators have made plenty of moves over the past few seasons, at times even dealing arguably their best players to other teams around the National Hockey League, and it sounds like the 2018 - 2019 National Hockey League regular season may bring more of the same to the table.
The Senators have a ton on their plate as they consider their future and at the very top of that list are the 3 key players on their roster that are set to become free agents on July 1st 2019. Those 3 players, all forwards, are Matt Duchene, Mark Stone, and Ryan Dzingel, arguably the franchises top 3 most important players when it comes to offense. The problem for the Senators here is that all 3 men are set to be unrestricted free agents this summer which means they will likely command some serious dollars on their next contract, and on top of that the Senators have shown some unwillingness to hand out big contracts to their players as of late.
Fans in Ottawa will remember all too well the trade that sent veteran center Kyle Turris to Nashville, a trade that was reportedly motivated by the fact that Sens ownership did not want to cough up big money on a new deal for Turris. There's also the trade that sent Erik Karlsson to the San Jose Sharks, a deal that many have speculated came from owner Eugene Melnyk's lack of taste for giving Karlsson a deal worth above $10 million per season.
The Senators face similar decision with Duchene, Stone and Dzingel and there is a belief that the Sens will be unable or unwilling to get all 3 men under contract prior to the end of the 2018 - 2019 regular season which would effectively allow them to negotiate with any team willing to make them an offer. TSN's NHL insider Darren Dreger recently commented on the issue and it seems fairly clear what he believes the Senators should be doing.
Dreger believes that the Senators focus should be on the two established elite players that they have, those being Stone and Duchene, and that the focus regarding Dzingel should be to trade him while his value is high. With 16 goals and 14 assissts for 30 points through just 40 games this season Dzingel is set to shatter his career high for goals (23), assists (18) and points (41) and at 26 years old there may never come a time when the Senators will be able to get more for the former 7th round pick.
Dreger reported last year that Dzingel was drawing significant interest prior to the 2018 trade deadline and it seems very likely that given his recent form he will draw even more interest this time around. There are plenty of teams around the league looking to add scoring depth and Dzingel seems exactly like the kind of player who could fill that need. He has been great for the Senators in his contract year, but is that enough of a reason for the Senators to pull the trigger? Let us know your thoughts and feelings in the comment section below.