Hours after Bob McKenzie tweeted out that the Spezza market was heating up and four teams — three from the Western Conference and one from the Eastern Conference — were in conversation with the Ottawa Senators, Bruce Garrioch followed up the news by revealing that it is ”believed as many as five teams — including St. Louis, Anaheim, Phoenix, Nashville and Florida — have made calls on the Ottawa captain.”
St. Louis and Anaheim are the two most frequently linked teams to Spezza, but the inclusion of Nashville and Florida fits with the information that we already know.
As I wrote yesterday, Bryan Murray has conceded that teams on Spezza’s list of teams that he cannot be traded to, have inquired on him.
“I hope so. I’ve talked to his agent, Rick Curran, a fair amount lately and I’ve asked him that question. I’ve said, ‘There are a couple of teams that are on the list that have expressed interest,’ and their first come back is, ‘We’d like to see if you could do a deal with the teams that we’ve provided to you, but if you get a good offer, come back to us.’
“I think it’s at that time in a career where, if a player wants to move, he might have to give a little bit for that to happen and I think Jason is ready to do that at the end of the day if I called him.”
Whether that means Spezza would willingly waive his NTC to go to an organization like Nashville or Florida, when they’re far removed from Stanley Cup contention. Fortunately, it’s not like either destination is Winnipeg – both offer some luxuries (weather) or benefits (state taxes) that could leave Spezza open to the possibility of going to either destination.
The inclusion of Phoenix is relatively new, but they were a destination that ESPN‘s Scott Burnside spitballed as a potential fit.
“Phoenix is deep along the blue line and Yandle would command a handsome return, but the guess here is that if Yandle is moved it will be for immediate assistance rather than top draft picks. The Coyotes need help down the middle.
You wonder if the Edmonton Oilers have any decent forwards they would be willing to give up for a smooth, puck-moving defenseman? Or are the Oilers determined to stay in the hunt for yet another first overall draft pick next summer?
The Ottawa Senators need help up front, so Yandle is not necessarily a fit there, but longtime Senators center Jason Spezza would be a nice fit for the Yotes.”
I don’t know if I want to put too much stock into Burnside’s rumour, but Yandle is a 27-year old left shooting defenceman who carries a $5.25 million cap hit on the remaining two years of his contract. Yandle’s a nice player and could form an excellent pairing with Erik Karlsson, but given his age and the lack of controllable years on his contract, I don’t know whether he’s the right fit for the Senators right now.
Don’t get me wrong, he would help make the Senators more competitive in the interim, but I’m of the mind that the Senators should be looking to the future and adding good young pieces to this team’s core.
McKenzie on Insider Trading
Bob McKenzie appeared on TSN’s segment of ‘Insider Trading‘ last night and discussed the Jason Spezza market and the Senators’ hopes of trading him by Friday:
“They certainly hope so, and the talk has picked up the past 24-48 hours to the point now where there are four teams talking to the Senators about Spezza. Three of those teams are in the Western Conference and we know Anaheim and St. Louis are among that group. One mystery team in the Eastern Conference has entered the fray which makes things a little interesting.
Keep in mind Spezza has a list of 10 teams that he cannot be traded to and there are four Eastern Conference teams that are on that list including Florida, Carolina, Columbus, and the New York Islanders.
In a perfect world the Senators would like to have this done before or at the Draft; they would like to get a first-round pick in Friday’s draft as part of the compensation for Spezza.”
For what it’s worth, I missed this late last week, but McKenzie also discussed Spezza’s situation on the NHL Network and corroborated speculation on the reasons for Spezza wanting out.
“Well, I think it’s a case here where, one, he has got a year left on his contract. He could stay and play it out and technically, he doesn’t control that. If the Ottawa Senators want to have him for another year, he’s their property and Jason Spezza will play there. But, according to Bryan Murray, Jason Spezza asked for a trade. And I think the trade request, however you want to categorize it or shape it, is largely because the Ottawa Senators are a budget team. They’re not a cap team and that one of their big problems has been trying to find some players to play alongside Jason Spezza and if they don’t have the money to get those players, and Ottawa’s not exactly the number one free agent destination for the biggest names in free agency on July 1st every year – along with about another 20 other teams in the National Hockey League, so I’m not denigrating Ottawa, it’s just the fact the market is smaller and a Canadian market – then Jason Spezza is probably saying, ‘Hey, in that case, I can’t sit here and tell you I’m going to re-sign here when I’m an unrestricted free agent one-year from now, so we may as well get the ball moving.’ So that’s kind of where we’re at.
And they know whatever they get in the trade market, and Bryan Murray alluded to this today, it’s probably not going to be fair value because Jason Spezza is a real good number one or number two offensive center with some size and skill. Those are hard to find and I don’t know how you replace that in the lineup, but teams like the Anaheim Ducks and St. Louis Blues among others, are looking for big point producing centers and Jason Spezza fits the bill and I suppose Ryan Kesler does as well. So we’ll keep an eye on Anaheim and St. Louis in particular, but not exclusively those guys and those two centers in Spezza and Kesler.”