Monday's NHL trade deadline brings with it plenty of late-season drama. We've already seen some major moves take place, and many more are almost certainly on the way.
On Friday, the Ottawa Senators dealt Matt Duchene to the Columbus Blue Jackets for a package of players and picks. On Saturday, the New York Rangers sent Mats Zuccarello to the Dallas Stars in exchange of conditional second- and third-round selections, the team announced.
Senators winger Ryan Dzingel is also set to reunite with Duchene in Columbus, per Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet:
That is a pretty juicy list of names in new homes. There's no shortage of rumors and speculation about how the list will grow, either. Let's run down some of the latest.
Columbus Stocking Up But Still Open to Moving Panarin
With the Blue Jackets acquiring both Duchene and Dzingel, it's become obvious that the team is all-in on a 2019 playoff run. This means the franchise isn't going to let go of pending free agent Artemi Panarin for something less than a stellar offer.
TSN reporter Pierre LeBrun reported that the Blue Jackets will hang on to Panarin unless a team "Predators Home Viktor Gold Fashion Jersey Hockey Yellow Authentic Arvidsson 33 Stitched."
This does not mean, however, that Columbus won't at least weigh its options when it comes to the left wing. While he can certainly help the team down the stretch, the fact that he can leave in the offseason and provide no compensation in return still weighs over the franchise.
According to Aaron Portzline of The Athletic, Columbus is still listening to offers for Panarin, though it would take something significant to get a deal done.
The Blue Jackets barely trail the New York Islanders and the Washington Capitals in the Metropolitan Division and are on a bit of a surge, having won seven of their past 10 games. Keeping the roster as stacked as possible would be the sensible move for a team looking to continue that surge.
Significant Interest in Matt Stone
With both Duchene and Dzingel now members of the Blue Jackets, Mark Stone is the final notable trade chip for the Senators. The team has made attempts to extend Stone, though, and isn't going to let him go for cheap.
"If the Ottawa Senators do trade Mark Stone, the belief is that they'd be looking for four elements to the trade," TSN's Bob McKenzie said on Insider Trading.
According to LeBrun, the key for some teams will be whether they believe they can sign Stone to a long-term deal.
TSN's Thomas Lott reported that four teams are particularly interested in acquiring Stone: the Winnipeg Jets, Calgary Flames, Boston Bruins and Nashville Predators. If the Senators can pit these teams against one another in the bidding for Stone, perhaps they can get the haul that they are looking for.
Extending Stone, meanwhile, is now being called a "long shot" by TSN's Bob McKenzie:
Bob McKenzie @TSNBobMcKenzie
It is, at best, a long shot — in order for it to happen Eugene Melnyk would have to step up the club offer and Mark Stone would have to be fully prepared to do what he hasn’t done so far (commit) — but it’s worth noting the door to re-signing him in OTT has not been locked shut.
Predators Not Making Tolvanen Available
If the Predators are able to land Stone in a trade, it's unlikely that Eeli Tolvanen will be part of the deal. Larry Brooks of the New York Post reported that Nashville won't deal Tolvanen for a player on an expiring contract:
Larry Brooks Randy Jersey 35 Baseball Brown Stitched Authentic Flexbase Jones Padres @NYP_Brooksie
At least as of this morning, Tolvanen is not available in exchange for a rental. If Rangers want him, it will cost Kreider. Predators apparently not in on Hayes, have interest in Zuccarello, as do Flames, Penguins, others.
This was relevant for the Rangers when Zuccarello was still available, and it remains relevant if Nashville does indeed pursue Stone, whose contract is up after the season.
A first-round pick in 2017, Tolvanen has yet to make an impact for Nashville. In fact, he's only appeared in seven games since he was drafted. However, he showed significant flashes in the KHL and while playing for Finland in the 2018 Winter Olympics.
The Predators, it would seem, are unwilling to give up on Tolvanen unless another young and developing player comes in to take his place.