Trade Watch: Jason Spezza Edition

Scroll through this page to see the timeline of events that led to Jason Spezza's trade from the Ottawa Senators to the Dallas Stars on July 1, 2014.

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Nichols' Notes (July 1, Part 1)

Nichols' Notes (July 1, Part 2)

Nichols' Notes (July 1, Part 3)

Nichols' Notes (July 1, Part 4)

Via Bruce Garrioch: The deal Bryan Murray had worked out with the Nashville Predators included Nashville's first round pick and Patric Hornqvist, who was subsequently dealt to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the James Neal trade.

The St. Louis Blues are still in the hunt, but want to see if they can land Paul Stastny. No asset cost there, only UFA money. The Phoenix Coyotes have interest. The Dallas Stars and Chicago Blackhawks are also mentioned as possibilities, the latter mentioned as having 'huge interest.'

Via Ken Campbell of The Hockey News:

When asked whether his client would change his mind about going to Nashville, Jason Spezza’s agent Rick Curran said, “I really can’t say one way or another. Nashville was on Jason’s list that we put together a while ago and without the benefit of a crystal ball, I can’t say. Call me in three or four days and we might have a better answer.”

Say what you will, but Jason Spezza earned the right to refuse to play for the Nashville Predators if he so chooses. Period. End of discussion. It was negotiated into his contract because both his camp and the Ottawa Senators agreed to it. So Bryan Murray can intimate how his hands are tied to a certain extent in terms of getting this deal done, which may well be true, but nobody forced the Senators to agree to that contract.

Anyway, fantastic quote from Predators GM David Poile Saturday after being spurned by Spezza. (Via Ken Warren, Citizen)

“Playing in Nashville, living in Nashville, it’s fabulous,” Poile said.  “Of course I might be prejudiced, but any of you who have been there and seen what it’s like and seen what the atmosphere is and the competitiveness of our team and how hard we try…Nashville is a great spot. I don’t get it. Everybody says I’d like to go to a team that has a chance to win the Stanley Cup. Well, we’re trying just as hard as everybody else to win the Cup and who knows, maybe we’re closer than anybody thinks.

“You can ask Paul Kariya what he thought of playing in Nashville. You can ask Peter Forsberg what he thought of playing in Nashville. But I get it. This is how the world is right now. There’s a lot of entitlement.”

The Citizen's Ken Warren and Sun's Bruce Garrioch point out that Nashville Predators GM David Poile was quite open Friday night about his franchise needing a No. 1 center.

“We need a top centre, there’s no question about that,” said Poile. “Mike Fisher is very good. We have some young guys like Calle Jarnkrok and Colton Sissons that played some games last year and Paul Gaustad, who is a defensive kind of centre.

“That’s next on our wish list, whether that comes in trade or free agency or it takes another year to get it, that’s what we need.”

The Predators are on Jason Spezza's list of 10 teams to which he didn't want to be traded, but Spezza's agent said in a recent interview that if Bryan Murray had an offer from one of those teams that Murray should bring it to them and they'd consider it.

The Ottawa Citizen's Ken Warren examines the latest on the Jason Spezza front, with Bryan Murray's presser Thursday afternoon.

“I’m not a betting man, so I won’t give any odds,” Murray said, when asked about the chances of a deal happening Friday. “I’m not sure at this point. I’m certainly having some discussions, not as much as I thought I might have, but there are, again, a few people talking to me, that have expressed interest.”

Warren looks at the angles for the Anaheim Ducks, St. Louis Blues, Chicago Blackhawks, and Florida Panthers, while also noting the potential impact of Ryan Kesler and Paul Stastny.

In Bruce Garrioch's latest piece, league sources tell him the St. Louis Blues, Anaheim Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks are considered the most serious teams in on Jason Spezza. The Dallas Stars, Nashville Predators and Florida Panthers have also asked.

Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch indicates the Blues were still involved in trade talks with the Senators for Jason Spezza on Wednesday. A league source tells Rutherford the Blues also contacted Paul Stastny's agent to express an interest.

Wednesday night's TSN's Insider Trading segment opens with Bob McKenzie talking about the Jason Spezza situation, but it's basically the same info he tweeted earlier in the day. Scroll down just a little and you'll see it. Full a full rundown on everything in the segment, see Wednesday's Nichols' Notes.

Bruce Garrioch's latest offering indicates Bryan Murray was taking phone calls Wednesday morning and it's believed the St. Louis Blues, Anaheim Ducks, Phoenix Coyotes and Florida Panthers - plus potentially another team - have called the Ottawa Senators about Jason Spezza. There's quite a bit of draft talk in the article related to a potential trade too. Garrioch believes the Sens would like to have a deal in place by Friday.

Via Elliotte Friedman's 30 Thoughts:

In the middle of all the Jason Spezza rumours, he did a really nice thing for Sam Bennett. Bennett told reporters while attending Game 3 of the Stanley Cup final that Ottawa's captain (for now) reached out to him when news broke that the upcoming first-round pick couldn't do a single pull-up at the NHL combine. The two work out at the same gym. So what was said? "I don't really know Sam, but he is around the gym. So I called him because I felt bad for him," Spezza wrote by email. "I know the pressure he must be under before the draft. I told him that I have never really watched him play; the only reason why people are making a big deal about this is because you are an amazing player. [Don't] make what should be a positive life experience of getting drafted become a negative because of one test... I said he is probably well aware that he needs to work at his upper-body strength. Use the criticism constructively and use it to motivate, not to beat yourself up... My whole career people have told me about all the things I do wrong but it just drives me to get better... And I told him to own it, don't be cocky about the fact that you can't do a pull-up but don't run from it either... Anyways, that's kinda the Coles Notes version of my talk."

The St. Louis Blues have been heavily linked to Jason Spezza and sources tell The Post-Dispatch's Jeremy Rutherford that the club has indeed checked on his availability and are believed to have made their interest in Spezza well-known to the Ottawa Senators.

“To improve this year’s team you probably have to go into areas you’re not comfortable going into,” GM Doug Armstrong said. “That’s the discussion I have with ownership on a daily basis: How much is too much?”

The Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch believes the issue facing Senators GM Bryan Murray on the Jason Spezza front currently is the crowded market of centres.


"I would assume a deal like that will be done on Day One of the draft if not the day before," said a league executive.

Curtis Joseph shared a number of thoughts with's Luke Fox and he was asked how Jason Spezza might fare with the St. Louis Blues, as has been rumored to happen.

“Spezza would play well in St Louis. I really think that. It’s not as much of a microscope as playing in Ontario, and he’s got great skills. L.A. took a chance on Gaborik—worked out. Montreal took a chance on Vanek—worked out. I think Spezza would be a good move for them. That’s what they lack is points. They got great defence. I think it’s a good fit, big time. Any big centreman."

Cujo also expanded with his thoughts on Joe Thornton of the San Jose Sharks going there.

Pierre LeBrun's Friday Rumblings blog notes the Anaheim Ducks and St. Louis Blues have talked to the Vancouver Canucks about Ryan Kesler and Ottawa Senators on Jason Spezza, and that the price is set too high on each centre.

The Tennessean's Josh Cooper notes Darren Dreger's report that the Nashville Predators are reportedly on Jason Spezza's no-trade list, writing that "lumping Nashville in with the Islanders, Blue Jackets and Panthers puts Nashville in undesirable company. Though the Blue Jackets have made great strides recently, and the Islanders are destined for Brooklyn after next season, those teams in some ways represent the holy trinity of American teams players don't want to play for. Adding Nashville to that mix is not exactly aesthetically pleasing for the Predators."

Not noted in the article, though, was Bryan Murray's revelation from Thursday that Spezza's agent has said that if Murray were to get a good offer from a team on the no-trade list (you'd have to imagine particularly one from the non-Canadian teams) that Murray could bring it to Spezza's camp and they'd consider it. So theoretically, the Predators are not completely out of the picture here.

TSN analyst Craig Button was on Team 1040 Thursday evening, and part of the discussion involved Ottawa Senators centre Jason Spezza. The host brought up what Bryan Murray has said about Spezza having had enough of the finger-pointing toward him during tough times.

“I think Bryan Murray’s saying that," began Button. "I don’t believe it. I don’t think Jason Spezza shies away from it. I think Jason Spezza has been a very good player for the Ottawa Senators. I don’t think he shies away from any type of pressure. I don’t think you can perform at over a point a game played in the National Hockey League if you’re afraid of the pressure.

“And I think it’s a situation where, I do – I think it’s unraveling in Ottawa. And I saw what happened last year with Alfredsson. You know, they wanted him to have a different role. They didn’t to pay him. I think that’s exactly what’s happened with Spezza and I think that players are now saying ‘You know what? Get me my life jacket, I know where the life raft is. I’m outta here.’

“Because I don’t think the Ottawa Senators are on a path of what you would call upward mobility. I think they’re on the downward path.”

The Senators' web site has the transcript of Bryan Murray's Thursday presser.

The Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch has his latest offering following Thursday morning's presser with Senators GM Bryan Murray, with sources saying the two serious trade offers for Jason Spezza to which Murray alluded came from the Anaheim Ducks and St. Louis Blues.

Ottawa Senators GM Bryan Murray joined TSN 1200 Thursday morning, discussing quite a bit on the Jason Spezza front.

On where things stand with offers:

“Well, there’s a few offers. A few teams I’ve talked to have shown real interest. There’s a couple teams that have been kicking tires a little bit. Right now we’re nowhere. Obviously. I’ve made a proposal to a couple of teams. One has come back to me and isn’t really in line with what I’m thinking from their team at the moment, but we’ll keep working at it and see if it does fit and there’s something that we can get back that’s somewhat adequate for a player like Jason – and it probably will continue over this week.”

Timeframe? Might it be done by the draft?

“There’s a possibility. Obviously if there’s a draft pick included, which there is with a couple of teams, then you’d like to get it done before the draft, but I’m not going to do it just for the sake of a draft pick at this point in time. I think you have to kind of realize we’ll talk and contuinue and see if we can get – we know we can’t get the return that Jason brings from an offensive point of view. We have to get other areas that will make our team good presently and in the future.”

There’s no way you can win this deal short-term, is there?

“I can’t win the deal and lots of people, you know, will question what you do, but that’s what happens when you have a good player. A guy that’s regarded as a star around the NHL. Whether you like him or don’t like him in Ottawa. But he is a good player. He’s a point-getter. He makes things happen offensively and you have to score goals to win in this league. So no matter what I get, at the moment, it won’t be enough.”

On the criticism of Spezza:

"WIth Jason, I think that he feels he's the triggerpoint here, the centrepoint of criticism. He gets the credit when we win, but lots of criticism when we don't win and he probably thinks it's easier on everyone if he moves on. He does listen to all the stations, and he reads all the articles, so when you point the finger, I guess after 10, 11 years you say 'maybe another opportunity, another place.' Not being the focal point all the time might be a good thing."

Calgary Flames GM Brad Treliving on Tuesday spoke with The Calgary Sun’s Eric Francis regarding a recent report indicating he’d offered up a number of players to the Ottawa Senators for Jason Spezza.

“It’s categorically false,” said Treliving. “I haven’t made any such offers. That’s 100 percent Fantasy Island. I saw it early Sunday online and had to read it a couple times and had to remind myself ‘oh ya I’m the Flames GM. Interesting.’ ”

Treliving expanded.

“You have a discussion about what’s going on, but there’s a big difference between just talking to guys and making an offer. You’re talking to every team, and when you hear of or see a team that may be in the market, it’s your job to phone and ask.”

The article also indicates several sources confirm what has been reported, that Spezza has no interest in playing in Canada again.

The Globe and Mail's Eric Duhatschek, writing on Jason Spezza, believes "there are at least two teams that fit the bill as perfect trading partners – the St. Louis Blues and the Anaheim Ducks."

And: "The likeliest landing place for Spezza remains Anaheim, just because the Ducks have more young talent with an upside in the pipeline and an intriguing commodity in defenceman Luca Sbisa, who could be a top-four player under the right circumstances."

League sources tell Bruce Garrioch that the Calgary Flames made a pitch to land Jason Spezza, with the offer reportedly including Jiri Hudler, Mikael Backlund, possibly Dennis Wideman and draft picks, which Garrioch suggests wouldn't cut it for the Senators. Well, that - plus the fact that sources tell the Ottawa Sun writer that Spezza does not want to stay in Canada. The Edmonton Oilers, Vancouver Canucks, Flames, and Winnipeg Jets are reportedly among the 10 teams to which Spezza will not accept a trade and, as Garrioch suggests, Spezza wouldn't be dealt to the Toronto Maple Leafs or Montreal Canadiens anyway.

Garrioch also believes the St. Louis Blues, one of the top options to land Spezza, have been speaking with the Canucks about Ryan Kesler AND that the San Jose Sharks are listening to offers on both Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau. Again, all the details from Garrioch's latest offering.

Ken Warren of The Ottawa Citizen has the Anaheim Ducks and St. Louis Blues as the clear favourites to land Spezza, with a secondary group of dark horses believed to include the Nashville Predators and Dallas Stars

TVA's Renaud Lavoie was on Sportsnet 590 with Tim and Sid Thursday afternoon. He intimates the Florida Panthers, who are struggling to get to the cap floor, might have interest in Jason Spezza. But who is on the list of 10 teams to which Spezza will not accept a deal? Lavoie suggests Spezza will likely be headed to a Western Conference team.

Bruce Garrioch's league sources say the Anaheim Ducks, Vancouver Canucks, St. Louis Blues and Nashville Predators have made calls on Spezza. Garrioch also notes it's believed Spezza told the Senators he does not want to stay in Canada and that as part of his no-move clause, he had to submit a list of 10 teams to which he would NOT accept a deal.