NEW YORK, N.Y. – Jason Spezza has requested a trade, and Ottawa Senators general manager Bryan Murray says he’ll try to make that happen.
“I don’t want to trade the guy, really, and I know I won’t get the value, in all likelihood that I should get for him,” Murray said Wednesday after the NHL general managers meeting. “But I think that Jason feels maybe there’s a change that he would like to have happen, and if that’s the case we’ll try to do what we can.”
Spezza, who replaced Daniel Alfredsson as Ottawa’s captain, has one year left on his contract at a salary of US$4 million and cap hit of $7 million. The 30-year-old centre has a modified no-trade clause that allows him to submit a list of 10 teams he would not accept a trade to.
Murray said that a few teams have already asked about Spezza, even though Wednesday’s meeting was too busy to advance many talks. He expects trade chatter to pick up in the next few weeks leading up to the draft, which runs June 27 and 28 in Philadelphia.
If the Senators do trade Spezza as has been speculated for some time, it would likely not be for just prospects and/or draft picks.
“Obviously I’d like to win a hockey game next year, so getting a player back that can play in the league, that has played in the league, would be important,” Murray said.
Spezza led all Senators forwards in scoring last season with 23 goals and 43 assists. In 686 career NHL games, the native of Mississauga, Ont., has 687 points.
Ottawa went 37-31-14 and finished five points out of a playoff spot this season.
While Murray said there has been some interest in Spezza, Florida Panthers general manager Dale Tallon estimated that a third of the league asked him about the No. 1 pick in this month’s draft.
“Nothing crazy,” Tallon said. “But a lot of guys say, ‘Are you still going to move your pick,’ or, ‘Do you want to move your pick?’ … I’m interested if it makes sense. It has to knock our socks off.”
Tallon confirmed that the Panthers interviewed ex-Pittsburgh Penguins coach Dan Bylsma for their vacancy that they’d like to have filled before the draft. The new coach won’t have a say on Tallon’s choice to trade or keep the top selection
“I think it’s more important when you get to free agency and players wanting to come who’s your coach, and if you don’t have a coach it’s going to be tough to sell free agents,” Tallon said.
If Florida keeps the No. 1 pick, Barrie Colts defenceman Aaron Ekblad is expected to be the choice.
One defenceman is absolutely not going anywhere, and that’s Nashville’s Shea Weber, who has 12 years left on a US$110-million contract.
“We’re keeping him, we’re building our franchise around him,” Predators GM David Poile said. “I think we’ve got one of the best young defences in the league. I think he’s got an excellent chance of winning the Norris Trophy in 11 or 12 days from now. Why wouldn’t we build our team around him? That’s exactly what we’re doing.
“We just need one or two forwards and when we get that, you’ll be saying, ‘Imagine that someone ever thought they would trade Shea Weber?’ No, we are not trading Shea Weber.”
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