Updates from Tuesday, July 1
Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun reports Spezza has been traded:
Dan Rosen of NHL.com adds more details:
NHL trade rumors have already started circulating surrounding Ottawa Senators center Jason Spezza with the 2014 free-agency period set to begin Tuesday.
At 31 years old, Spezza is entering the final season of his current contract with Ottawa. He is due to make $4 million this season, but will count against the salary cap for $7 million, per CapGeek.com.
Add in the limited no-trade clause on his contract—he can list 10 teams in which he will not accept a trade—and getting a deal done with the veteran won’t be easy.
The Senators found out how difficult trading Spezza would be on draft day when the player vetoed a potential move that would have sent him to the Nashville Predators, per Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.com:
According to Bob McKenzie of TSN, there are at least two teams interested in the center despite the recent drama associated with his departure from Ottawa:
Spezza is still one of the most talented centers in the league, racking up 23 goals and 43 assists in 75 games last season. As the captain of the team, the leadership qualities he showcased in a year of turmoil helped steady the ship.
Any team in search of depth at the center position and impact playmaking should be considering Spezza as a viable option as the centerpiece of a dominant second line.
When asked about the time frame for the franchise to trade Spezza, Senators general manager Bryan Murray told Arpon Basu of NHL.com about how the next few months could play out:
This is not a deadline by any means. We don't start hockey until mid-September, we have a number of things that could happen. It's just a matter of having conversations with the right people. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn't we have a really good player on our team next year.
Staying healthy will be a huge key for Spezza, but with a free-agent contract looming after the 2014-15 campaign, a contending team who acquires the veteran this offseason should expect the best Spezza we’ve seen in years.
A team like the St. Louis Blues in desperate need of depth through the middle would be the perfect landing spot for a player who struggles defensively at times. Spezza would give St. Louis the offensive consistency it needs to become a legitimate contender.
Regardless of where he eventually lands, though, it’s clear the Senators are actively trying to move him.