The absence of three big names from the ice last night, as Ottawa played in New Jersey, has fuelled rumours that the Senators are trying to protect the trio from injury and preserve their value in a potential trade ahead of the NHL's trade deadline on Monday.
Matt Duchene, Ryan Dzingel and Mark Stone all sat out Thursday night's game against the Devils. All three are set to become unrestricted free agents at the end of the season, and losing the three players could be seriously felt by Senators fans.
"If the trade deadline comes and passes and all of a sudden they lose Duchene, Dzingel and Mark Stone...I think it's going to be a really difficult pill to swallow," said Kyle Bukauskus, Sportsnet reporter.
The Senators are currently last in the eastern conference, but Duchene, Dzingel and Stone would be valuable additions to other teams looking to boost their own chances of winning a Stanley Cup.
Eugene Melnyk, the Senators' owner, has committed to rebuilding the Senators into a winning team. However, it appears not everyone believes he's the person to do it; the hashtag #MelnykOut began trending again, Thursday evening.