Ask Adam: trading Jason Spezza and Mike Green; amnesty buyouts; and national pride

Mike Green
Mike Green

After an unexpected absence, THN’s online mailbag is back, and better than ever. Well, maybe just back. Thanks to all who submitted a question.

Hi Adam,

Now that Jason Spezza has requested a trade from Ottawa, and that GM Bryan Murray said “I know I won’t get the value, in all likelihood, that I should get for him”, what will it take to acquire him?
Niclas Emanuelsson, Säffle, Sweden

Hi Niclas,

Although Spezza is still a valuable NHLer, you’re not looking at an Eric Lindros-to-the-Flyers-type trade package to land him. Spezza just turned 31 and is in the last year of his contract, so any team that acquires him won’t be ponying up draft picks, prospects and NHL-ready young players.

Murray surrendered one of each of those to acquire Bobby Ryan from Anaheim last summer, but if he can get two of those three components (depending, of course, on the prospects and/or players and/or picks involved) for his captain, he’ll be satisfied and pull the trigger on a trade. As you said, Murray already has acknowledged he’s not going to get equal value for Spezza – that’s always the case when a player’s trade request goes public – so the best he can hope for is to create a bidding war (preferably, among Western Conference teams) and drive up the price as best he can.

Adam,

Does the CBA allow a team to re-sign a player after a compliance buyout, or is that against the rules?
Tom Murphy, Vernon, N.J.

Tom,

Yes, as part of its amnesty program (that ends after this off-season), the NHL forbids teams from re-signing any player whom they’ve bought out. As well, compliance buyouts can only be used on players signed prior to the signing of the current collective bargaining agreement.

Adam,

As Canadians, we talk about hockey being our sport, yet when it comes to the IIHF World Hockey Championship, we send the “C” squad to play against the other countries. In an Olympic year where Evgeni Malkin and Alex Ovechkin played in both the Olympics and Worlds, yet players like Mike Smith, Braden Holtby, Shea Weber and even Sidney Crosby (whose teams either did not make the playoffs or were eliminated) do not represent their country. Why?
Tyler Worden, Calgary

Tyler,

The reason those players you’ve named didn’t play at this year’s World Championship really has nothing whatsoever to do with their patriotism. If this were an actual best-on-best tournament, you’d see Canada ice the same type of powerhouse lineup they did at the Sochi Winter Olympics.

However, because the World Championship takes place during the NHL playoffs, it’s inevitably regarded as a (very small) consolation prize for NHLers. After a punishing regular-and-post-season, players need to take advantage of whatever recuperation time they can get – and don’t think they also aren’t facing pressure (explicit or otherwise) from owners paying them millions of dollars and who want to minimize their risk of injury. The best way they can do that is by not playing.

Don’t get me wrong – players appreciate the opportunity to put on their country’s jersey, but this isn’t a black-and-white scenario that demands they do. And it’s not just Canadians, either: Phil Kessel wasn’t in the playoffs, but he didn’t suit up for Team U.S.A.

Adam,

I’m a huge Capitals fan watching my team from halfway across the country. It seems obvious GM Brian McClellan and coach Barry Trotz will have to shake up the roster to some degree, and there’s no way owner Ted Leonsis allows them to even consider trading Alexander Ovechkin or Nicklas Backstrom. Most of what I read suggests that the player who might bring the most in return is Mike Green, who seems to be anything but a Trotz-style defenseman. Given his injury history and contract status, what is a reasonable return to expect for Green if he is moved? Thanks.
J. Callahan, Dallas

J.,

Nobody doubts Green’s stock has plummeted; the question is, how much? He’s not locked up contractually for long – his $6-million cap hit expires at the end of the coming season – but his time on ice average was down by more than two minutes (from 24:51 in 2012-13 to 22:43 last year) and injuries have caused him to miss an average of 27 games in each of the past four seasons.

Still, he’s only 28 years old and offense-minded defensemen are at a premium in the current NHL climate, so you know there will be teams who are interested in Green’s services. But the expectations on him should be lessened; this is not someone who is on the same level as a Drew Doughty, despite earning about $1 million less than the Kings superstar blueliner.

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