When it became known Jason Spezza had requested a move out of Ottawa, the Senators’ asking price was something like a young NHLer, a prospect and a first round pick. Ideally, the trade would have been made at or before the draft so the Sens could recoup the first round pick they gave up to Anaheim in the Bobby Ryan deal. When no deal was struck for Spezza in Philadelphia, we knew for sure the eventual return in this trade was going to come up flat.
And, really, that’s how this was always going to play out. Ryan Kesler was the biggest name and most available center on the market and the Anaheim Ducks didn’t surrender their highest draft pick or any of their blue-chip prospects for him. Meanwhile, the Senators had even less leverage than the Canucks did with Kesler, since Spezza only has one year left on his deal and had already denied a move to Nashville. So it shouldn’t be a huge surprise that Ottawa was only able to get Alex Chiasson, a second-rounder and no-name prospects for Spezza. Read more
PHILADELPHIA – The best chance for Jason Spezza to get the trade out of Ottawa that he supposedly wants might be for him to change his mind about going to the Nashville Predators. And while the Predators are one of the 10 teams that Spezza had on his no-trade list, that doesn’t mean that won’t change.
Senators GM Bryan Murray said after the NHL draft that he had a deal to send Spezza to the Predators Friday night, but the deal was scuttled because the Predators are on one of the 10 teams to which Spezza listed on his no-trade list. When asked whether his client would change his mind about going to Nashville, 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.” Read more
PHILADELPHIA – You talk to GMs here the day before the draft and you hear a common lament. “I’m trying like hell to get something done,” they say, “but right now it’s not happening.” This is not uncommon the day before the draft, particularly one with as many moving parts as the 2014 proceedings.
There has been a dearth of horsetrading and whether or not that’s the calm before the storm or a draft that has failed to live up to its hype when it comes to player movement essentially depends on three things. One of them is what Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon does with the No. 1 overall pick. Tallon has made it clear he’s willing to deal the pick, but the price he’s asking is too steep at the moment. Read more
The St. Louis Blues re-signed forward Patrik Berglund – who has been and will remain the subject of trade speculation – to a three-year, $11.1-million contract extension Thursday. The signing kicked off what could be an eventful week for the franchise, which is still looking to make its first conference final appearance since 2001.
Getting the 26-year-old Berglund (a restricted free agent who earned $3.25 million last season) under contract doesn’t mean he’s a lock to stay with the Blues; this could be a precursor to moving him. The Blues (and Berglund, who had a disappointing 2013-14 regular season with 14 goals and 32 points in 78 games) have been linked in trade rumors with Senators captain Jason Spezza – and depending on what happens with Canucks trade requester Ryan Kesler, he could be wearing a St. Louis jersey sometime this weekend and Berglund could be in Ottawa. The Blues have also kicked the tires on Avalanche unrestricted free agent Paul Stastny as an alternative. Either player would be an immense help to a squad that finished with the third-worst goals-per-game average (2.33) in the playoffs.
That said, there will be competition for the services of Stastny and Spezza, and there’s every possibility the Blues still are hunting for a skilled center by next week. They may have to sacrifice some of their much-envied blueline depth to get a quality pivot in place. Read more
The window for NHL clubs to interview free agents on rival teams opened on Wednesday. Though actual contract negotiations are prohibited, the interview period is a great opportunity for teams to woo prospective free agents before the unrestricted free agent market opens on July 1.
Sportsnet’s Mark Spector observes the Calgary Flames hope to re-sign left winger Michael Cammalleri while the Boston Bruins want to retain Jarome Iginla. However, this interview period provides players an opportunity to gauge interest from other clubs.
That’s why Colorado Avalanche center Paul Stastny is going to test the market, even though his agent claims he’s had good contract conversations with Avalanche management. The Denver Post’s Adrian Dater notes the Stastny camp intends to circle back to the Avalanche to give them an opportunity to retain him. Read more
With the Vancouver Canucks having hired a new GM (Jim Benning) and coach (Willie Desjardins), the focus returns to center Ryan Kesler, who remains the target of recent trade speculation.
Earlier this month it was reported Kesler informed Benning he still prefers a trade. There’s been some recent confusion, however, over where the 29-year-old prefers to be dealt. The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch claims the Chicago Blackhawks and Pittsburgh Penguins are Kesler’s only preferences, prompting The Globe & Mail’s Eric Duhatschek to note the difficulty that would create for the Canucks to move him.
The Blackhawks have limited cap space ($4.6 million) for 2014-15 and restricted free agents (Ben Smith, Jeremy Morin and Antti Raanta) to re-sign. They’ll have to either do a dollar-for-dollar swap with the Canucks or convince them to pick up part of Kesler’s salary to squeeze him under their cap. The Chicago Sun-Times’ Mark Lazerus reports Blackhawks winger Patrick Sharp has been mentioned as a trade candidate, but Sharp has a modified no-trade clause, meaning he’ll have to agree to the deal. Read more
The New York Rangers freed up over $6.67 million in annual cap space by using their remaining compliance buyout on center Brad Richards, who now becomes an unrestricted free agent. Rather than use the savings to pursue unrestricted free agents, Larry Brooks of the New York Post anticipates the money will be sunk into re-signing as many of their key free agents as possible.
One of them is defenseman Anton Stralman, who Brooks reports could receive a three- or four-year offer from the Blueshirts worth $4-million annually. The question is, will that be enough to keep Stralman from testing the upcoming UFA market? Read more
With the NHL draft only a week away, the Jason Spezza rumor mill is heating up. TSN reports Ottawa Senators GM Bryan Murray said he’s received two serious offers for his captain. It’s believed his asking price for Spezza is a top-six forward, a highly rated prospect and perhaps a first-round pick.
Though Murray didn’t name the teams, it’s rumored the Anaheim Ducks and St. Louis Blues are be the front-runners. Mike Johnston of Sportsnet cited a rumor from St. Louis claiming the Blues were Spezza’s destination of choice.
Johnston’s colleague Mark Spector believes the Ducks could land Spezza, suggesting their depth in “sub-22-year-old talent” along with their two first round picks (one of them acquired from the Senators last summer in the Bobby Ryan trade) could tilt the scales in Anaheim’s favour. Read more