The Ottawa Senators are the team to watch ahead of the Feb. 25 NHL trade deadline, and the Boston Bruins seem ready to pounce if one of the Sens' best forwards become available.
New York Post reporter Larry Brooks tweeted Tuesday an update on the Bruins' interest in Senators right winger Mark Stone.
Told that Bruins will be all in on Stone if Senators are unable to sign winger to extension... — Larry Brooks (@NYP_Brooksie) February 19, 2019
Stone is 26 years old and in the final year of his contract. He'll be a restricted free agent July 1 if he's not signed to an extension before that date. The Senators would be wise to extend Stone if possible, but Ottawa is in a rebuild and might not want to break the bank to re-sign a player who has a lot of value on the trade market and could fetch prime assets to accelerate the rebuild.
Sportnet's Elliotte Friedman provided another update on Stone's situation in his "31 Thoughts" column Tuesday:
4. My guess on Mark Stone is the Senators came at him with bigger money at less than max term. There were rumblings of five years at $10.5 million, but it was denied. That number would put him with Patrick Kane as the highest-paid winger in the NHL, but leaves money on the table Stone would try to recoup at age 32. His decision comes in the next few days. Chris Johnston reported on Headlines he thinks Vegas won't do it as a rental. Winnipeg is definitely there. So is Calgary. Undoubtedly, there are others.
In-depth news coverage of the Greater Boston Area.
If the Bruins are going to go all-in at the trade deadline, then Stone makes the most sense, more so than likely rentals Artemi Panarin and Wayne Simmonds. Stone isn't an upcoming UFA and is still in the prime of his career. He's tallied 61 points (28 goals, 33 assists) in 59 games this season and has scored 20-plus goals in five consecutive campaigns. His single-season career high in points is 64, so he's likely to smash that this season.
The price to acquire Stone figures to be pretty high given his age, RFA status and impressive talent. The Bruins need additional scoring depth, and a top-six winger is their primary need ahead of the deadline. If Bruins general manager Don Sweeney wants to swing for the fences, Stone is a good gamble for a Boston team that looks like a real Stanley Cup contender.
Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.