(UPDATE 12:28 PM)- With one tweet from Bob McKenzie, it seems like the Jason Spezza Sweepstakes have kicked into high gear. This tweet almost seems like an intentional leak of sorts from the Sens’ camp. One that is essentially asking teams to put their best offer on the table for consideration. Nothing imminent just yet but you can tell this is nearing a resolution.
Jason Spezza trade talk heating up. OTT in conversation with 4 teams, three in the West and one in the East.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) June 25, 2014
The Jason Spezza situation sounds like it’s starting to get a little bit complicated. With just two days to go until the Draft in Philadelphia, Spezza is still an Ottawa Senator and the list of interested teams seems to be shifting by the day.
Even Bryan Murray has to be sort of sitting there wondering how this is all going to play out. Unlike previous years where there weren’t really any legitimate point-producing centre on the market, this year there appears to plenty. And that has certainly clouded the free agent and trade market.
Jason Spezza. Paul Stastny. Ryan Kesler. Brad Richards. Those four guys are absolutely in play right now. We know that much. Then you have names like Eric Staal, Joe Thronton, Patrick Marleau floating around. Not in the mix the same way the other four are but certainly being discussed. So we know St. Louis, Chicago, Anaheim, Dallas and maybe Colorado would all love to land a centre. Let’s try to look at each of these teams and what their thought process might be…
-St. Louis needs offence. As of this morning, you know they put a call in to Paul Stastny. They are considered the favourites to land Spezza but if they have a legitimate shot to land Stastny, I think they go for it. They aren’t really in the mix on Kesler.
-Chicago is desperate for a number two centre and appears to be focused on Kesler. They seem like they would be willing to move Patrick Sharp to make room. I assume they would also check in on Stastny and although there hasn’t really been much talk about it- you would have to think they like Spezza too.
-Anaheim is going to find a number two centre and right now anyway, seem to be focused on Kesler. They have also been linked to Spezza so I’m assuming that is there Plan B. Like Chicago and St. Louis, you would assume they dialed up Stastny this morning.
-Dallas is hard to get a read on in all this. I’ve heard Brad Richards as a likely option for them. He’s played in Dallas before and still has a home in the area. Spezza makes sense for them too and there have been rumours that they have shown interest.
-And then we have the Colorado Avalanche. If they could get Stastny signed, they wouldn’t really be a factor in any of this. But now that he is fielding offers from other teams, they suddenly become a team to watch. They absolutely have talked to the Senators about Spezza. And it must have been a contingency plan of sorts if they lost Stastny. This is a team on a budget too so the 7 mil cap hit/4 mil real money has to be attractive.
And then you have Ottawa. Sort of standing on the sidelines waiting for this all to play out. If the Blues miss out on Stastny, the conversations between Murray and Armstrong can continue. St. Louis keeps offering Berglund as the centre piece but I don’t think that’s enough for Ottawa. Ideally, Murray would wait to see which team missed out on Kesler (Anaheim or Chicago) and get them in the mix. The more teams involved the better. It would also be good if the Senators had a sense where Stastny was going because if he leaves Colorado, then you know Ottawa would like to circle back and find out what the Avalanche might be willing to offer.
There’s also the “other” teams. The two or three teams from Spezza’s no trade list that have shown interest and might be willing to make an offer, according to Bryan Murray’s last media availability. Gotta think that includes Nashville and the New York Islanders (and Florida apparently) but I don’t know for sure. There really shouldn’t be a deadline on all of this but it seems like Ottawa would like to have a pick in the first round on Friday night.
After speaking with contacts over the last couple days, I keep hearing that the Senators aren’t really pushing to get the deal done. It almost seems like they are waiting for the other shoes to drop. It’s a high stakes game of chicken but one that Bryan Murray has likely played countless times over his career as GM. And at the same time, Murray has to deal with his own free agents, prepare for the Draft on Friday, and make calls to any potential unrestricted free agents they may be looking.
Hope Bryan Murray is well rested because it’s going to a busy few days.