(UPDATE 5:20 PM)- So after that press conference with Sens GM Bryan Murray, it sounds like that’s it for Ottawa for today. Not an overly active day for the Senators but they did deal with the Spezza situation which has to be considered a positive at this point. Not an overwhelming return but in the end Murray took the best offer placed in front of him. Important to note that the Senators aren’t “done” for the off season. Speaking with people around the team, it does sound like they are working on one (possibly two) more trades/signings.
(UPDATE 12:15 PM)- The Senators have signed forward Milan Michalek to a three year contract worth an average of $4 mil a season.
(UPDATE 12:13 PM)- Call it the first surprise of the day. Benoit Pouliot was a top target for the Ottawa Senators but has instead accepted a five year contract with the Edmonton Oilers. Senators will now shift their focus to other LW options.
(UPDATE 11:57 AM)- Almost time to open the flood gates. Keep being told this is going to be a busy day for the Senators. A couple trade options in play as well as 1 or 2 free agent signings. Should be a fun day!
(UPDATE 11:07 AM)- Done deal. The trade includes forward Alex Chiasson, Alex Guptil, Nicholas Paul and a second round pick to Ottawa in exchange for Jason Spezza and Ludvig Karlsson.
(UPDATE 11:04 AM)- Dallas reporter is saying Jason Spezza has been traded to Dallas. Details coming.
(UPDATE 11:01 AM)- The day is young but it sounds like the Jason Spezza trade speculation is already heating up. Senators Assistant GM Randy Lee talked about how the Spezza deal really has a large impact on some other things they would like to do in free agency. Add to that a tweet from a Dallas reporter suggesting that the Stars will seriously pursue Jason Spezza today. I know we’ve all been burned before expecting a deal but I’m pretty optimistic they find a trade today.
Draft Day was a bit of a bust for the Ottawa Senators but they have a chance to redeem themselves today on what has quickly become one of the most exciting days on the NHL calendar- Free Agent Frenzy Day!
Despite operating under a fairly tight internal budget, there could be some fireworks from the Sens today. They have been talking to a handful of free agent forwards and ideally would like to get a couple of those guys under contract today. Benoit Pouliot is at the top of their list but they have certainly held discussions with others.
While some teams may be able to offer a little more money and perhaps a better shot at a Cup, the Sens are in a unique position in that they can offer free agents a significant role on the team. With the entire first/second line potentially on the way out today, there are certainly openings on Ottawa’s roster for next season.
And of course there are a couple other things on Murray’s plate today including a potential Jason Spezza trade. Once Paul Stastny signs, the teams that miss out will certainly come calling. Whether or not Murray gets an offer he thinks is acceptable is another thing altogether but teams will certainly reach out. During an Insider Trading segment last night, Pierre LeBrun suggested that teams like St. Louis and Dallas would be looking for a one year extension from Spezza as a condition of a deal. Not a lot of talk about this but I see it as potentially being a major roadblock to a deal. Hard to imagine a player poised to cash in as a UFA would give that up for a one year extension. The teams interested in Spezza better have some flexibility on that issue.
And there’s also a potential Bobby Ryan extension in the works. No guarantee this gets done today but just another thing to keep an eye on.
For those of you that have followed along on previous deadline and free agent days, you’ll know I usually add news and rumour updates to the top of the post so keep an eye on this post for all the latest.
Happy Canada Day/Free Agent Frenze Day everyone!