The Ottawa Senators elected to sit Mark Stone for Thursday's loss against the New Jersey Devils and it appears to be growing more likely that he will be moved before Monday's trade deadline.
TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie reports, however, that the Senators are believed to have a set a high price tag on Stone, seeking as many as four pieces back in a trade of the winger.
"If the Ottawa Senators do trade Mark Stone the belief is that they’d be looking for four elements to the trade. It could be as much as two first-round picks and two very good prospects," McKenzie said on Insider Trading Thursday.
The Senators traded Matt Duchene on Friday for a package that included two forward prospects, a first-round and another first-round if Duchene re-signs with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun said Friday some teams "are blushing" at the ask on Stone, but notes teams remain tempted to meet the Senators price.
McKenzie noted that the Senators have not completely closed the door on Stone re-signing with the team, but did take the step to protect him for injury on Thursday. He could sit again Friday when the Senators host the Columbus Blue Jackets.
"Well, here’s what we can say: The Ottawa Senators established a deadline and the deadline was if these guys weren’t signed before the game, then they weren’t going to play and they obviously didn’t play," McKenzie said. "That doesn’t mean 100 per cent absolute certainty that all three are now going to be traded, although that might be the logical conclusion. Now there was never a cataclysmic announcement from Matt Duchene saying I’m not signing in Ottawa and there was never any sort of press release put out by the Senators saying we’re trading Matt Duchene. And yet, they’ve been proactively trying to trade him and sooner rather than later for some time now.
"We would expect the same thing is likely to roll out for Stone and Dzingel, but at this moment in time, the players and the club haven’t 100 per cent closed the door but draw your own inference from it. It would most certainly seem likely it’s headed in that direction, but let’s give it another few hours if you will to see unequivocally."
Stone, 26, leads the Senators with 28 goals and 62 points in 59 games this season. He is listed at No. 1 on the TSN Trade Bait board, one spot ahead of Duchene.