OTTAWA -- The Ottawa Senators believe they still have time to sign forwards Mark Stone and Ryan Dzingel before the NHL Trade Deadline on Monday at 3 p.m. ET.
Stone and Dzingel were not in the lineup for the Senators in their game against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday for precautionary reasons. Each can become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
Senators general manager Pierre Dorion hasn't given up hope. But with the Trade Deadline less than 72 hours away, there are significant decisions to be made.
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"We're still working on convincing a few others to stay," Dorion said. "However, we have to be prepared for every scenario. We're confident in our hockey group's ability, my hockey abilities as a GM to make good trades for the rebuild, and for our fans to see something glorious in the next few years.
"We know this route will be difficult. Every rebuild has challenges, but we want to look at the big picture and our very bright picture."
Dorion says there are multiple teams interested in acquiring Stone and Dzingel, individually.
The Senators have already moved one of their noteworthy UFAs, trading center Matt Duchene to the Blue Jackets for forward prospects Vitaly Abramov and Jonathan Davidsson, a first-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft and a conditional first-round pick in 2020.
Video: VAN@OTT: Dzingel, Stone connect to tie it late
Stone, 26, is a five-time 20-goal scorer and has 311 points (123 goals, 188 assists) in 366 games with the Senators after being their sixth-round pick (No. 178) in 2010.
Dzingel, 26, has scored at least 20 goals in back-to-back seasons and has 126 points (62 goals, 64 assists) in 247 games with the Senators. He was their seventh-round pick (No. 204) in 2011.
Ottawa could possibly have moved its top three goal scorers by the Deadline in Stone (28), Duchene (27) and Dzingel (22). But Dorion is urging the Senators fan base to trust that they're headed in the right direction.
"It's part of the process of the rebuild," Dorion said. "All we're asking is our fans to be patient, and we have to respect the player's right that it's their right through the CBA that they can be free agents. And in Matt's case, that was his choice.
"We have to do what's best for the organization. At times it's a bit more difficult, but we know at the end of the day we're making the right decision."