(UPDATE 11:57 AM)- Some interesting news from Bob McKenzie just now. Not entirely unexpected but McKenzie tweeted that the Senators were not willing to give restricted free agent forward Stephane Da Costa a one way contract and that he’ll most likely be heading to the KHL. Da Costa was caught up in a bit of a numbers game with so many centres already pushing for roster spots in Ottawa. Good opportunity for Da Costa though. Best of luck to him.
As always, thanks to everyone for keeping the conversation going during my absence.
Celebrated my 29th birthday on Friday, played in a golf tournament on Saturday and then Father’s Day on Sunday. A busy few days but glad to see the conversation continued on without me. And not surprisingly, a lot of that conversation centered on Jason Spezza. Hope you guys aren’t tired of the topic because it’s going to be front and centre for the next couple weeks.
Let’s play a little catch up on some news and notes from the weekend.
-The Calgary offer. Lots of talk about this over the weekend as Bruce Garrioch suggested that the Calgary Flames would be willing to offer Jiri Hudler, Mikael Backlund, Dennis Wideman and one of their second and third round picks. It’s an interesting offer and maybe the first glimpse we’ve seen of what teams are actually offering. Backlund is obviously the key piece in that deal. Hudler is a useful player but that Wideman contract is pretty atrocious. It will be interesting to see if other teams try to structure deals like this, including a quality piece but at the same time asking the Senators to take on a bad contract. Pretty confident in saying Ottawa has no interest in taking on a bad contract in this deal.
-The conversation around that Calgary deal should be a pretty short one though as it’s believed they are one of the team’s on Spezza’s no trade list. Like the Edmonton Oilers, the Flames have interest but will have a hard time convincing Spezza to move to a different Canadian market.
-Lots of talk about the Brad May story that surfaced over the weekend. Essentially, May is suggesting that Spezza didn’t flat out demand a trade but rather asked that the club show some sort of commitment towards building a winning hockey team. Something Eugene Melnyk has gotten away from the last couple seasons. For what it’s worth, I’ve heard something similar. It also came up in last summer’s Alfredsson debacle. There are a few layers to this Spezza thing but a big part of it is certainly the desire to play on a winning team. The idea that this is all about a player that is tired of being blamed for losses is pretty ridiculous.
-On Thursday, AJ Jakubec confirmed what many others have speculated and that’s that the St. Louis Blues are making a pitch for Spezza and it will include restricted free agent centre Patrick Berglund. While the Senators have interest in Berglund, they are going to need some other pieces to make that a deal worth considering.
-And one last Spezza rumour. Keep an eye on the Dallas Stars. They seem to be coming up more and more lately. And obviously can’t rule out the Nashville Predators. The nice thing about the situation Bryan Murray finds himself in is that a number of Western Conference rivals seem to have an interest in Spezza. It’s hard to say without knowing how strong the offers are but this certainly seems like a bit of a bidding war.
-And we’ll close with a non-Spezza rumour as over on HockeyBuzz, there was an article about the Chicago Blackhawks having interest in both Zack Smith and Colin Greening. Smith has drawn interest from Chicago in the past but he is obviously a player the Senators like. Greening is an interesting one though because I can confirm that the Murray shopped him around quite a bit last season. With that big contract extension about to kick in, I’m sure Ottawa would listen if a team came calling.