With Sportsnet‘s Nick Kypreos reporting on the rumours that both Ontario teams are actively shopping their respective captains, Hockey Night in Canada‘s Elliotte Friedman made an appearance on Calgary’s Fan 960 radio yesterday to discuss both situations.
To listen to the full interview, you can download the link here or you can listen to the embedded audio below.
As always, my thoughts are in bold.
On the Spezza rumours and the rumours being out there for awhile…
“Yeah, and I believe he’s getting traded.”
Poor #SpezzaRally participants.
On what Ottawa needs and who is in need of a guy like Spezza…
“I think the biggest debate right now is, is Jason Spezza your number one center or is he your number two center? And I think Spezza is easier to trade because he’s a $7 million cap hit, but he’s a $4 million salary. I think the team that I heard was really in on him during the regular season was Anaheim and now you’re looking at Anaheim and they’ve got a shot to go to the third round of the playoffs and I wonder if they consider themselves still a part of this market. I don’t know if you want Spezza to be your number one guy. There’s a big debate about that right now, but if you have Ryan Getzlaf as your number one guy and all of a sudden (Spezza) is number two, that’s pretty good. So I think that you’re looking at that kind of situation, honestly. I wonder if Calgary would be a player for him. Calgary is looking for offence now. Do you take a one-year flier on that guy? I think that’s a guy who could be worth a look because of that. Nick Kypreos also mentioned the … I think St. Louis is definitely in that. St. Louis is looking for offence and I think Nashville is a team looking for offence. And also don’t forget, Spezza would waive his (NTC) to go to a place like Nashville. They are going to have a new coach who is going to preach offence and also, Mike Fisher is there so Spezza will have somebody who he really knows on that team. But, I think St. Louis is the most intriguing one because I do believe they are going to be doing things for offence this year too.”
Considering Anaheim’s pipeline of prospect talent and depth, I really hope that they’re still a part of the Spezza market. It’s hard to believe that a year ago at this time, we would have been looking forward to a potential Silfverberg/Spezza partnership in Ottawa and now it may actually come to fruition in Anaheim.
Friedman has discussed Nashville as a potential landing spot for Spezza before, but I never really gave it much credence because I simply assumed that they were in a stage in which they either: a) did not have the coveted high-end pieces that Ottawa would want in a potential deal; and/or b) would not be interested in moving them because of where they are in their franchise’s cycle. They do have some interesting defencemen who have upside and considering how Friedman has obviously gone to enough lengths to comfortably state that Spezza would waive to go to Nashville, maybe it’s a scenario that deserves more attention.
On what the price tag would be for Spezza…
“Well, I think Ottawa will be looking to extort a lot. They made a trade for Bobby Ryan where they gave up a lot. I’m wondering if they allow a window to negotiate with him because that would always change things. The thing that comes to me is, the question is, “Is there a market for this guy?” There sure is. Like if Ottawa comes out to day and Bryan Murray says, “Jason Spezza is on the market,” there’s going to be teams throwing themselves at him because they’ll be looking to take a guy who’s a number one or two center, they are hard to find. And a guy who put up 82 points two years ago, those guys are hard to find. I think that there will be a lot of competition. A lot of teams need offence – St. Louis, Nashville for example – I think the price is going to be pretty high. Oh by the way, the other thing about that too is that Spezza has control. He has a no-move clause, so that’s the only thing that can limit Ottawa in any way.”
The bigger the market, the bigger the return. The pressure will be on Bryan Murray to maximize the return and as a budget conscious team, the Senators simply cannot afford to strike out on this trade.
On what the Senators would be looking for in a trade…
“Well, I think they’re looking (defence – but Friedman stops short of saying it)… if they’re giving up Spezza, they’re looking for… yes, they’re always looking for youth because that’s the way they kind of go. They’re not a cap team. They’re more of a budget team, so they have to be careful with what they decide to acquire. I think they’re looking for offence, no question because they have a question about Hemsky too. Is he going to stay? So they’re going to be looking for players who can play offence and they’re also going to be looking for a defensive defenceman. They have issues. Wiercioch took a step back. He had a bit of a struggling year. Cowen really had a struggling year. They don’t have a lot of veterans on that blue line – guys that have been around a bit and can defend – that’s another thing they’ll be looking for too.”
The Senators already have eight defencemen in Karlsson, Methot, Phillips, Gryba, Borowiecki, Wiercioch, Cowen, and Ceci under team control next season, so unless the organization is willing to move out some of these bodies as part of a larger package or separately in another trade, I can’t imagine the focal point of a Spezza trade being a defenceman. If Spezza/Hemsky/Michalek are all on their way out the door, the lack of internal candidates who can step in immediately and replace that kind of production should necessitate finding some high upside skilled talent up front.