Management Speaks: Talks Draft and Spezza

Over the weekend, members of the Senators’ front office were involved in a number of radio and television interviews to comment on the Jason Spezza trade market and their draft selections.

Day One:

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Here is Bryan Murray talking to Sens TV about the day’s events. To watch this video, you can do so by viewing the embedded video at the bottom of this section.

On the inability to move Spezza on the first day of the draft…

“There were conversations. There were people who suggested that they might do certain things and at the end of the day, there was no real legitimate ‘We’ll do this if you want to do it.’”

On having to get a fair return…

“The way it’s going to work is we get some value for a really good hockey player and it certainly hasn’t been out there at this point in time.”

On the Kesler domino and being surprised that the market for Spezza didn’t heat up…

“No, I really like Jason Spezza, so I thought he might be the first guy that people would be calling on. But bottom line, four or five teams called. Three kind of hung in and suggested that they were very interested, but when we got to today, there were really no call backs or anything. So I suspected that they made up their mind to either pick, because I was asking for a pick in the trade, or they just felt they were okay with the way they were.”

On asking for a first round pick in a trade…

“Yeah, it wasn’t a high one, but I was asking for a pick.”

On what happens next…

“What happens? (Spezza) signed a contract. I expect that there will be further conversations. This is not a deadline by any means. We don’t start hockey until mid-September. We have a number of things that could happen. It’s just a matter of having conversations with the right people and if it happens, it happens and if it doesn’t, we have a really good player on our team next year.”

On whether the passing of the draft changes what he’s looking for in a return…

“The first round pick was part of a package and as I say, it wasn’t an early first round pick that I was talking about, so does it change? I don’t know. I really don’t. We know we have to get return for a quality player and unfortunately, it didn’t happen today.”

On whether he felt that a deal could be made on day two of the draft…

“You should get it out there that if managers want to make a trade, I will talk to them.”

On anticipations that the trade will have to come after July 1st and the start of free agency…

“Well, the odds appear to be that way, but I have no idea at this point. As I say, a couple of the teams that I was talking seriously to didn’t come with a presentation when it was… well, they didn’t come with a presentation for the most part. I talked to a number of general managers that, as I say, initially called and talked and it just didn’t go anywhere.”

Speaking to AJ Jakubec and Lee Versage on TSN 1200 following the conclusion of the draft Bryan Murray had the following to say.

On what it was like trying to deal Jason Spezza and on what some of the offers were that weren’t good enough…

“First of all, four or five teams originally had called. Today there was really no conversation that meant anything. It didn’t appear that… there wasn’t one team that came back to me with an offer. We talked around it. We talked about the possibilities. I talked about trying to help out in a couple of areas to make a deal happen for the sake of Jason and I didn’t have any response. I thought I had one team kind of bought into the idea of doing a certain package, and again, they didn’t come up with that. That was the day.”

On what the next step is…

“Well, what’s the next step? We don’t start hockey until September. There may be another team or two that step up and want to have a conversation, which I’m sure will be the case and we’ll see how it plays out. But, as I’ve said all along, he’s good player (and) a very good player for us. You have to get some return that – I’m not trying to break the bank for anybody – I’m just trying to get a player or a couple of players and today was, I was hoping to even get a late round pick to round out the package and at least satisfy the organization going forward – where we’d have a couple of young prospects maybe playing and developing and somewhere down the road, they’d be NHL players. So that didn’t happen. We’ll just, as I say, go forward now and continue to talk and see if anything happens. If not, Jason has a year left on his contract and that’s what will happen.”

On Ryan Kesler being the first domino to fall and how some teams might be waiting until after July 1st to see where Stastny goes…

“That could be and there’s no question free agency does play into it. We’re very close to that date now. It’s hard when you get to draft day to get a first round pick out of a team. In September or in July after everything is over, talking about next year, it’s a little easier. At this point in time we’ll just, as I say, continue. I’m sure there are people that recognize that Jason is a very good hockey player and that at some point, they may believe that he can help their hockey team and they may do something.”

On looking at value for draft picks and particular trigger points in which teams may be more amenable to moving draft picks…

“Well I think people have their draft pick, they go to development camp, they take a look over the summer at their hockey team and I guess the next step is, in the latter part of the summer when they have to kind of make a determination on what they need, as we all tend to do, that may be another trigger point. And the final one obviously is the trade deadline. If somebody is in contention and we’re in a position where we could maybe acquire something, that’s another consideration.”

On other potential deals not involving Jason Spezza…

“I’ve talked so much on the phone the last few days, my ear is sore and my throat is sore. I thought there were a couple of other things that we could at least talk about, but there was nothing and I talked to a lot of managers about this – nothing really happens. A few deals (were made) – the Kesler deal was a big one and a few flipped picks – but beyond that, there wasn’t much.”

On a sense at the table this year without a first round pick and revisiting the Bobby Ryan deal and whether not it’s difficult not to have that pick now…

“Well, we were very, very excited (on July 1st) when we got Bobby Ryan. I can tell you we were all pumping our fists in the office. We believe that he is going to be a very important player for this franchise and he’s going to score a lot of goals. That’s the price that you pay. I didn’t pay any price today, but I did feel bad for our scouting staff. They run around all winter and that’s why, more than anything, I try to acquire a pick for them so that they can walk away and feel that there’s a sense of achievement. It’s the way it is and as I say, sometimes you just have to make a decision – it’s whether you make a trade or include a pick and as I say, I would make the same trade today for Bobby Ryan.”

On whether there’s any possibility of movement on day two of the draft…

“Well, I don’t know. I wish I did. I wish I had a feel that two teams would call me and try and make a deal, that’s not the case. We do pick (in the second, third and fourth round) and I know our guys have a couple of targets and it will be interesting and fun for them. I’m sure we’ll walk away with a quality player. Now as far as making another move, as I say, nobody’s come up to me and said, ‘We’d like to do this,’ so I’m not expecting any (trade activity).”

On what the process is with Jason Spezza over the next little while…

“Well, I had a meeting with Rick Curran yesterday. We sat in my room and we talked for half an hour. I told him the scenario. I told him that there were a couple of teams that had expressed interest, but they were on Jason’s list (of teams that he would not accept a trade to). A couple of teams that had made overtures to me at that time, and I thought we would talk, but I said ‘Unless something improves, don’t expect to be traded.’ And I now Rick Curran, who is his agent, did talk to Jason. He contacted me partway through the (first round) and asked if anything was happening and I said ‘No.’ We’ll certainly talk. I believe I have a very good relationship with Jason and some point here, hopefully him and I can sit down and talk and we’ll have another target date.”

http://proxy.autopod.ca/podcasts/chum/192/23353/14.06.27-%20bryan%20murray%20with%20lee%20and%20aj%20at%20the%20draft.mp3

Day Two:

The Senators have done an excellent (and by excellent, I mean that I simply don’t have to do it) job transcribing and chronicling most of the comments made by Pierre Dorion and Bryan Murray on day two at this past weekend’s NHL Draft, so go give it a read.

I won’t lift all of their quotes, but Murray did make a few comments that were of particular interest.

In reference to his conversations with Nashville GM David Poile that stalled because Jason Spezza had Nashville on his list of 10 teams that he could not be traded to, Murray indicated that “Not now, they’ve done their James Neal trade so that has gone away and Anaheim has done away with Kesler. The field narrows a little bit but they might have to have a little change in approach as well as I do.

The return in the James Neal trade was Patric Hornqvist and Nick Spaling, so given Murray’s comment about Nashville losing interest because of the Neal trade, it’s probably fair to assume that one or both of these pieces were being offered to the Senators for Spezza. Otherwise, why make that comment?

Interestingly, Pierre Dorion downplayed the significance of being unable to acquire a first round pick because he said the organization got the guy it wanted all along in Andreas Englund.

“Yesterday we were talking about a Spezza deal and we were trying to get a late first rounder and this is the guy we would have taken. For us we feel we left this draft with a first round pick in Andreas Englund. I said it on the radio, I’ve been scouting for 20 years and I don’t think we’ll bring a higher character person into our organization. He brings a physical presence, I think his skills are underrated, I think the fans are going to love him once he plays for us whether it’s in two, three, four years. I think we have someone who’s really going to help our organization down the road.”

On the subject of his interest in making some additions on July 1st, Murray indicated that there are a number of openings on the parent roster.

“We need four forwards right now. That’s not including Jason. I was hoping that Jason would give us one but we need a couple of other forwards. We need two left wingers, we need a centre if Jason’s not here. There are a couple of spots open on the hockey club.”

Although Murray discussed this vacancies, that’s not to say that these roles can’t be filled internally. With the promotion of a Lazar or a Jean-Gabriel Pageau for example, the Senators can fill a few of these holes quite cheaply.

Here are the videos featuring Bryan Murray and Pierre Dorion’s comments:

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