(UPDATE 2:20 PM)- With Ryan Kesler on the move, things should heat up on the Jason Spezza front. The offers will still have to improve but now Spezza becomes the primary trade target on the market. St. Louis is obviously still at the front of all this. Chicago, who missed out on Kesler, is likely to get involved. As recently as this morning, I was told that the Dallas Stars have made a pitch. It’s going to be a busy few hours for Bryan Murray and his staff.
Draft Day is finally here. Jason Spezza is still an Ottawa Senator but that very well could change before team’s step up to the podium in Philadelphia later tonight. As we settle in for what should be a frantic day around the National Hockey League, here’s a sampling of news, rumours and speculation related to the Senators.
Berglund and the Blues- Probably the name that has come up the most in connection with Jason Spezza. Actually, he may be the ONLY name that has come up in Spezza rumours. When he signed that three year deal last night, it certainly made him a more tradeable asset. The Blues have offered him. Ottawa said not enough. A lot can depend on the other pieces but if he ends up being part of a Spezza deal, I think the Senators settled.
Avalanche Warning- For some reason, the Avalanche have always come up when I ask people about Spezza. And they were definitely there at the deadline, as I’ve mentioned many times. And now with Paul Stastny testing the free agent market, it starts to make sense. Colorado is a budget team so a year of Spezza at $7 mil cap hit/$4 mil real dollars is probably attractive to them. Problem here? They may not know what is happening with Stastny until next week. They don’t want to match his last contract. He doesn’t want to go any lower. But still, he’s expected to give them a chance to match his best offer before signing elsewhere.
Playing Hardball- Listening to Murray yesterday compared to his last media availability, you would think the offers for Spezza actually got worse. And from what I have heard, that definitely isn’t the case. Yesterday looked like a General Manager sending a message to his peers, saying that if you want to get a deal done, the offers have to improve. They always do on Draft Day. Murray says he’s willing to drag this on as long as it takes but I really think the team’s preference is to get something done as soon as possible. A Ryan Kesler trade would certainly speed up the process for Ottawa. St. Louis, Anaheim, Florida, Dallas, Chicago, New York are all interested. Too many teams involved for one not to step up. Still think it happens before or during the Draft.
Moving a Defenceman- With yesterday’s contract to Eric Gryba, the Senators now have eight defenceman under contract for next season. Cody Ceci is on a two way but I really don’t think they want to have him in the AHL. At the same time, Ottawa has been mentioned as a team that might be looking for an upgrade on defence. Something has got to give here. Hard to imagine a scenario where the Senators don’t trade a defenceman before Training Camp in September.
The Bobby Ryan Extension- For whatever reason, there seem to be people that are convinced on both sides of this issue. Bobby will definitely sign. There’s no way Bobby is signing. I’ve received emails suggesting both scenarios. What I do know, is Bobby wants to see some sort of commitment to winning. I also know he has really enjoyed his time in Ottawa. The Senators will be working on this one beginning July 1st
The Next Captain- Keep hearing Ottawa wants to go young this time. Karlsson is the favourite in my mind and others in the know seem to agree. No Captain might be an option for a team that has had to change its Captain in consecutive summers but word is Karlsson really wants that C. Teammates love him too. At 24, Karlsson appears ready and motivated to take that next step and make this his team.
Free Agent Tracking- In yesterday’s media availability, Bryan Murray mentioned that he had some interest in one free agent and spoke to that player’s agent on Wednesday. My mind went straight to Daniel Alfredsson but it usually does. Steve Ott is a guy the Senators have looked at in the past so some were speculating it might be him. Not sure where Ott would fit in and as a UFA, you know somebody will overpay.
Alfie Watch- Not happening. No way. Senators aren’t interested. A sample of the sort of things contacts have told me when I ask about Alfie. Yet I’m having a hard time letting go. Detroit seems to be on the fence about bringing him back. Alfredsson definitely wants to play another year. Would he pick up his family and move to another new city? I dunno. For what it’s worth, I’ve heard there are pretty significant tax advantages involved with staying in the States for a couple years.
Stay tuned to the site throughout the day. Will provide updates as I get them. And if you’ve been around these parts the last couple weeks, you know there will be no shortage of discussion in the comment section below.
Happy Draft Day Everyone!