Rumor Roundup: Do the Calgary Flames want Jason Spezza?

Jason Spezza (Photo by Francois Laplante/FreestylePhoto/Getty Images)
Jason Spezza (Photo by Francois Laplante/FreestylePhoto/Getty Images)

The NHL’s buyout period has begun and runs to 5 p.m. EST June 30. This year is also the final one where teams can use compliance buyouts to shed contracts without the calculation counting against their salary cap.

The Hockey News’ Matt Larkin recently summarized the details of the buyout calculation and provided a listing of teams that have one or both compliance buyouts remaining. Only players under contract prior to Sept. 15, 2012 are eligible for such buyouts.

It’s expected Buffalo Sabres winger Ville Leino will receive such a buyout. The Buffalo News’ John Vogl reports Leino’s agent, Markus Lehto, has had a “few very short discussions” with Sabres GM Tim Murray regarding his client. Vogl notes Murray has said it’s a “very good possibility” the two sides will part ways.

Over the course of the playoffs there was growing speculation the New York Rangers and Los Angeles Kings could respectively buy out Brad Richards and Mike Richards. Of the pair, Brad is the most likely candidate. The New York Post’s Brett Cyrgalis believes the center will “almost assuredly” be bought out to free up cap space to re-sign several notable free agents, including Mats Zuccarello, Chris Kreider, Derick Brassard and Anton Stralman.

Other compliance buyout candidates could include Columbus’ R.J. Umberger, Dallas’ Erik Cole, New Jersey’s Anton Volchenkov, San Jose’s Martin Havlat, Tampa Bay’s Ryan Malone and Vancouver’s David Booth.

SPEZZA-TO-FLAMES RUMOR BURNS OUT QUICKLY
The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch reports the Calgary Flames made a pitch for Spezza, offering up Jiri Hudler, Mikael Backlund, possibly defenseman Dennis Wideman and one of their second- or third-round picks. Garrioch considers that offer insufficient and cites sources claiming the Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Vancouver Canucks and Winnipeg Jets are on Spezza’s 10-team “no-trade” list.

It’s believed the Senators prefer to trade Spezza to a Western Conference team. That rules out the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens as possible destinations, plus the Senators aren’t about to ship Spezza to one of their archrivals.

The Anaheim Ducks and St. Louis Blues are considered the front-runners for Spezza. Both clubs are in the Western Conference, are Stanley Cup contenders seeking a scoring center and possess the depth in young players and prospects to entice the Senators.

MARCHAND NOT LEAVING BRUINS
In the wake of the Boston Bruins’ playoff elimination last month, winger Brad Marchand became subject of trade speculation. A recent rumor suggested Marchand could be dealt to San Jose for Sharks forward Patrick Marleau.

Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli, however, swiftly denied the rumor. The Boston Globe’s Amalie Benjamin reports Chiarelli claims he’s had no trade discussions about Marchand and has no intention of trading him.

The rumored deal certainly made no sense for the cap-strapped Bruins. If they were to trade Marchand (who earns $4.5 million annually) it wouldn’t be for an aging veteran like Marleau, whose new contract ($6.66 million annually for the next three seasons) is considerably more expensive. That’s assuming Marleau would waive his full no-movement clause to join the Bruins.

Chiarelli’s insistence Marchand won’t be traded could heighten trade speculation regarding Johnny Boychuk, who has also frequently appeared of late in the rumor mill. With only $9 million in projected cap space and key players (Jarome Iginla, Torey Krug, Reilly Smith) to re-sign, they could make a salary-dumping deal to free up cap space for those re-signings.

Rumor Roundup appears regularly only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and The Guardian (P.E.I.).

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