Monday’s Spezza News: Pulled From Sens Marketing Material and Kesler Impact

A good advertising source tells me the Sens have instructed that Jason Spezza’s image be pulled from marketing materials for this fall.

— Steve Warne™ (@TSNSteve) June 9, 2014

On this morning’s episode of TGOR, host Steve Warne prefaced Jason Spezza question to Shawn Simpson during the latter’s ‘Simmer at 7’ segment by revealing an interesting piece of information.

“I talked to someone in advertising game last week who said the Sens had instructed that Jason Spezza’s image be removed from marketing materials for next season. That certainly doesn’t mean anything is imminent, but it’s clear the club thinks there’s a better chance that he is traded than not traded. Bob McKenzie had an interesting thing about the Spezza market. He said, with Ryan Kesler on the marketplace right now in Vancouver, that’s bad news for the Sens who are trying to trade Spezza preferably before the draft and with Kesler out there, well, most teams are going to be targeting that center before targeting Jason Spezza.”

What Bob McKenzie said specifically on TSN’s ‘Insider Trading’ segment was this:

“With Kesler on the marketplace right now, that’s bad news for the Ottawa Senators, who have been trying to trade Jason Spezza, preferably before the draft. With Kesler out there, that’s a center that most teams will target before they go after Spezza.”

Oh, that’s just GREAT… and it gets better. It also turns out that the Colorado Avalanche and impending UFA Paul Statsny are caught in a holding pattern and it appears likely that the center will either hit UFA unless the parties are able to agree on a contract extension in the days leading up to July 1st.

If there is one saving grace however, it’s that the Canucks have a history of staunchly holding onto players if they don’t like the trade market that is out there.

As Elliotte Friedman pointed out in his latest ‘30 Thoughts’ blog, the Canucks could elect to hold onto Kesler and move him at a later point in time.

3. Anaheim, for example, wasn’t willing to give up someone off the roster in-season. Will that be different now? And, if Ottawa asks for a first rounder, an NHL player and a prospect for Spezza, will Vancouver say it will take more than that for Kesler? The final question is: are the Canucks willing to start 2014-15 with Kesler on the roster? I think they’d prefer to make a trade, but will keep him if they don’t like what’s out there. That said, my guess is someone steps up.

If the Canucks pull Kesler from the market, that would be great. The rub for the Senators is that they have to hope that someone steps up too because they simply don’t have the luxury of time that the Canucks.

With only one-year remaining on his contract, the Senators’ could ill afford to let the Spezza situation, especially with him being the captain, hang over the team as a distraction for any stretch of the season. They also need to move him when there’s an assurance of health. By moving him this summer, there is a limited risk of injury to the player.

People can read into the decision to pull Spezza from advertising materials as though it is some sign that the Senators are confident that they will be able to get the trade value they’re seeking and/or a trade is imminent.

Given what we know of the fallout from Daniel Alfredsson’s decision to leave the organization, it seems just as likely (if not more) that the organization learned its lesson and is simply mitigating against the risk of publishing material featuring a player who may not appear in a Sens jersey next season.

In any case, all signs point towards Spezza leaving the organization, but the question on everyone’s mind is, “Are the Senators going to be able to extract enough value to make a trade worthwhile?”

Well, if you’re not smitten by rumours that the Senators could move Spezza for a package including Anaheim Ducks forward Nick Bonino, then TSN 1200’s AJ Jakubec has some good news for you.

Don’t rush out to get your Nick Bonino or Chris Stewart jerseys. I don’t expect either to be an Ottawa Senator anytime soon. #Sens

— AJ Jakubec (@AJonSports) June 4, 2014

Huzzah!

NHL Cap Going Up

Okay, so a Stanley Cup Final featuring the Los Angeles Kings and New York Rangers might not have been the greatest thing in the world for the thrifty Ottawa Senators’ player payroll budget. The Ottawa Sun‘s Bruce Garrioch has repeatedly stated that the Senators’ budget for player payroll will come in around the $56 to $57 million range. Should the Senators come in at that figure, they will be close to the NHL’s floor. It looks like those days of being a mid-cap team will be over.

The shitty news for Senators fans in regards to the escalating cap situation is that with the exception of Curtis Lazar, the organization’s best young players or prospects are already on the parent roster and in many cases, they are signed to cost-efficient deals . Theoretically, this  should be the time when the organization should augment this core with better (read: more expensive) talent, but as we’ve seen with the organization’s decision to break off talks with Ales Hemsky, the Senators do not seem prepared to do that.

If the organization is as hampered by their internal budget as we’ve been led to believe and the team does not have the financial ability to acquire assets on the open market or have the farm system to acquire these players via trade, maybe it would be more prudent to engage in a lengthy rebuild to acquire the high-end players necessary for this team to attain a contender’s status.

Sens Summer Fan Fest Tickets

In case you haven’t bought your ticket already, Sens Summer Fan Fest tickets are available for purchase here at the cost of $25 each. The event is being held at MacLaren’s on Elgin and more information pertaining to the event can be found via the event’s website.

If enjoying beer and pool while talking Senators hockey with a bunch of bloggers and media-types sounds like your idea of fun, join the fray and buy your ticket today.

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