Decision day approaching for Vladimir Tarasenko and the Senators

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Crunch time is coming for Vladimir Tarasenko and the Ottawa Senators.

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It’s up to Tarasenko to determine what’s next with the National Hockey League trade deadline approaching fast.

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The Senators’ winger isn’t at the top of everybody’s list with the deadline set for March 8 at 3 p.m. EST, but we’re told several teams have reached out to Steve Staios, the club’s president of hockey operations and general manager, to express interest in the 32-year-old Tarasenko.

A unrestricted free agent on July 1, Tarasenko has a full no trade clause (NTC) and though he hasn’t been formally asked by Staios to wave it to accept a deal to a contender, the expectation that’s going to take place in the coming days so the Senators can get value in return.

The belief in league circles is the asking price for Tarasenko is at least a second-round pick and a prospect. If the Senators are wiling to eat some of his $5 million U.S. salary then Staios might be able to get a little bit higher return because several of the contenders don’t have cap space.

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Tarasenko told reporters earlier this month he’s keeping all his options open, but his best bet is to go to a contender and there’s little chance he’ll be staying with the Senators.

He recently hired Toronto-based agent Craig Oster of Newport Sports to represent him and the belief is Tarasenko would like to try to parlay a trade into an extension.

He’d be a good fit for a contender, but some are likely chasing bigger fish before deciding if they want to make a deal with the Senators. Tarasenko has 15 goals and 37 points in 55 games with Ottawa this season plus he won a Stanley Cup with the St. Louis Blues in 2019.

In 97 playoff games in his career, Tarasenko has recorded 44 goals and 64 points. Those are strong numbers because we know the post-season is a tough time of year to score goals.

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Several teams are looking for help up front, but it’s interesting to note the TSN trade bait board had Tarasenko as the fourth-ranked forward and at No. 11 on the list of 50 players. He’s behind Pittsburgh’s Jake Guentzel, Adam Henrique of Anaheim and Philly’s Scott Laughton.

As we noted in this space Sunday, you can be certain the Vegas Golden Knights are among the teams that have kicked tires on Tarasenko. He didn’t score in his 17 minutes and 28 seconds of ice time in the Senators 4-3 shootout win Saturday night, but had chances with three shots.

Staios had a long chat with George McPhee, Vegas’ president of hockey operations, at Saturday’s morning skate. The Knights are looking for help up front with captain Mark Stone sidelined week-to-week with an undisclosed ailment and no timetable for his return.

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The New York Rangers, Florida Panthers and Edmonton Oilers are among the teams looking for help up front. The Oilers have been linked to to Tarasenko and he was dealt to the Rangers by the Blues last spring. He had three goals and four points in seven games with New York.


Defenceman Artem Zub was on the ice Saturday morning, but didn’t suit up against the Knights.

Interim coach Jacques Martin told reporters Zub is day-to-day with an issue that has been nagging him for the last couple of weeks. He missed two games earlier this month after suffering an undisclosed Feb. 10 against the Toronto Maple Leafs, but had suited up for four straight.

Zub’s spot on the roster was taken by veteran Travis Hamonic against the Knights. There was no skate before the club left for Washington Sunday so we’ll have to see if he’ll face Capitals.

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“He’s been dealing with a past injury so he’s just trying to manage it,” Martin said.

Top centre Tim Stutzle, who scored the winner in the skills contest against the Knights, was getting assistance from a staff member to get his skate untied when reporters entered the room.

Stutzle did block a shot with his hand in the first so it’s something that may be worth monitoring during Monday’s skate. He left the room with two members of the medical staff, but Martin indicated Stutzle “should be fine” to face the Caps.


This will be a tough test for the Senators. The Capitals are coming off a 3-2 overtime loss to the Florida Saturday, but have points in four straight. Battling to get into the final wild card spot in the East, Washington went into Sunday night’s action seven points back of the Detroit Red Wings. Washington is 4-3-3 in its last 10 and has to get its act together to make the post-season … Alex Ovechkin suited up for No. 1,400 of his career against the Panthers. He became the 41st player in NHL history to reach the milestone and the tenth to do it with one team. Ovechin had a 10-game point streak come to an end after going pointless against the Panthers. He’s been a force versus the Senators with 36 goals, 24 assists and 60 points in 55 career games … The Senators scored a 6-1 victory over the Caps on Oct. 18 in Ottawa. Josh Norris had two goals in that one.

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