The Senators originally wanted to keep Spezza but then decided dealing him to help the rebuilding effort. This seems like they have realized the rebuild will take a bit longer and unlike Brian Burke, they don't plan on having a rebuild on the fly. They want draft picks, prospects and young roster players for him.
So who are the teams interested? Originally it was said to be Buffalo, St. Louis, Columbus and of course Toronto. However, Hockey Break has further reported that a scout in St. Louis said that Spezza does not fit in with what St. Louis is trying to do.
So that leaves us with Buffalo, Columbus and Toronto.
Buffalo, ever since new owner Terry Pegula stepped in, has been prepared to spend to win. As a result, the Sabres have acquired Brad Boyes and are prepared to make a run at more talented players.
The question is what will they give up.
For starters, I think they're prepared to give up a first-round pick, and maybe their top prospect in Zack Kassian. It may take more, but the Sabres don't really have a lot they can afford to give up, as a lot of the players have shown they should be built around.
However, they may have to give up a decent roster player like Drew Stafford, because Spezza is still elite. I don't expect the Sabres to pay this price, though.
The Blue Jackets, on the other hand, are much more prepared to move players. They have needed a centre for Rick Nash for forever. The poor fellow has scored a lot of goals, and yet has never had an elite centre to play with him. Alexander Ovechkin has Nicklas Backstrom, Steven Stamkos has a playmaker in Martin St. Louis, and so they would really welcome a playmaking centre like Jason Spezza.
To get him, they may have to give up a player like Derick Brassard and a first-round pick. Again, I have no idea what the price for Spezza is, but these are just speculations.
Columbus, I think, has a better chance to get Spezza than Buffalo.
Toronto most definitely wants a top-line centre. All you have to do to figure that out is look at the last several press conferences from Brian Burke. In fact, I think he mentioned Brayden Schenn in the Tomas Kaberle conference.
What he said was actually quite strange.
He was asked what happens to Nazem Kadri now that the Leafs have acquired Joe Colborne, and he said he's in a tougher battle. Same with Brayden Schenn, he's in a tougher battle.
This could have been a Freudian slip, which shows how badly he wants a top-line centre, preferably Brayden Schenn.
Either way, he intends to acquire a top-line centre for Phil Kessel. Same as Columbus. Toronto may have a few more assets, but it is hard to say who will get Spezza, assuming he is traded. Toronto may have to sacrifice Tyler Bozak, Nikolai Kulemin and more. It is tough to say.
In conclusion, I think Spezza will be traded. However, I have no idea where he'll be traded to. It could be to Toronto; heck, even Dallas might target him to replace Brad Richards.
However, for now it seems he is on the trading block, and Toronto and Columbus are the best bets.