As the Ottawa Senators’ 2013-14 season swirls around the drain, there is this instinctual response for fans to question (after vomiting on this abomination of a season) and develop their own ideas on how the Senators organization can best approach the offseason to ensure its present and future success.
It’s a rite of passage at this time of year and considering the contractual circumstances surrounding notable 2015 UFAs like Jason Spezza and Bobby Ryan, it’s not outlandish to weigh and evaluate the cost/benefit analysis of moving one or both players. Spezza’s name, more than Ryan’s, has been bandied about and judging by some reports around the deadline, he was one name that the Senators did in fact receive calls on.
In his column last Sunday, Bruce Garrioch mentioned that the Senators received calls from the St. Louis Blues and the Anaheim Ducks. Judging by the circumstances and the reported interest from around the league, as well as Brent Wallace’s comments in which he cited a Senators front office type not being satisfied with the level of accountability that Spezza exudes on the ice – thinking about a future without Jason Spezza in Ottawa seems tangible, especially since the Senators don’t necessarily have the deep pockets necessary to mitigate the risks associated with Spezza’s health and age.
According to Bob McKenzie however, Senators General Manager Bryan Murray is not ready to concede a future in which Spezza is not a part of this organization.
Speaking to TSN 1050 radio, McKenzie dropped the following nugget of information:
“No, I don’t believe so. I think Bryan Murray is pretty clear on Jason Spezza and he says, ‘We want him back.’ Now he’s a year away from a new contract to needing a new contract and they can start talking this summer after July 1st and that. Now, if Bryan Murray talks to him and the contract demands are out of sight and (Murray) thinks they’re not great, I guess he always has that option of saying, ‘Okay, well then this will be like any situation where you’ve got a guy who’s going to unrestricted free agency who you can’t afford or don’t want to pay him what he wants and move him then or at the (trade) deadline. But even in the face of all of that, Bryan Murray has kind of indicated ‘Hey, know what? I’m okay with Jason Spezza on our team.’ I know there was some trade talk at the deadline, so you can’t rule it out I guess Jeff (O’Neill), but I don’t think it’s a burning priority of Bryan Murray where he’s like got in his mind that ‘Okay, we’re going to turn the page on Jason Spezza this summer and go in a different direction.’ I think there are a lot of variables, but all things being equal, the plan is to continue to ride with Spezza as the main guy.”
Considering Ottawa’s in a situation in which they: 1) re-sign him; 2) trade him in the summer; 3) try and move him at the deadline and risk potentially shitty market values like we witnessed at this year’s deadline; or 4) lose him for nothing, I don’t really understand how the future of players like Spezza and Ryan aren’t at the forefront of the decision-making process for Bryan Murray.
And given the risks associated with Spezza, it’s a giant leap of faith to consider riding with Spezza as the main guy.