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Tarasenko tuning out trade rumours: 'I don't think about it'

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While there's been trade speculation around Vladimir Tarasenko, the Ottawa Senators’ pending unrestricted free agent forward said Monday he's not focused on the March 8 deadline.

Tarasenko was ranked No. 5 on the latest TSN Trade Bait board as he plays out a one-year deal signed with the Senators in the off-season, which carries a full no-trade clause. 

"I don't think about it,” Tarasenko said of the upcoming trade deadline. “I think about the game tomorrow, I think about things today. You know, if you focus on the past and the future too much, you just lose the present time, lose excitement, and being stressed out every time. I may think about it sometimes, yeah, but mostly try to set it away and prepare for the coming games.

"I think the biggest part is don't read the experts online, you know? I don't go online. I don't read hockey news. There's many people, there's many opinions. I know a lot of guys like to read it and they take it very [personally], but I think you have to be focused on yourself mostly and do whatever you can do in your situation, and the rest will take care [of itself]."

The 32-year-old winger, who carries a $5 million cap hit, has 14 goals and 34 points in 46 games this season.

He was traded ahead of the deadline last year from the St. Louis Blues to the New York Rangers, and said Monday he's enjoying his time in Ottawa.

"I have a good group of guys [here],” Tarasenko said. “I enjoy the guys a lot. They're very fun. I think it's a very tight group. I always thought it's not about the place, it's more about the people surrounding you. And I was fortunate [with] both the Blues and Rangers, there were good people around me. Here, it's the same thing. A lot of people willing to help. ... I'm enjoying it."

The Senators enter play Monday sitting second-last in the Eastern Conference, 16 points back of the Detroit Red Wings for the final playoff spot. Winners of three straight, the Senators will play three games this week against other teams outside the playoff picture as they hope to re-enter the conversation.