One of the bigger surprises around the NHL Draft was that Jason Spezza wasn’t traded by the Ottawa Senators as many believed he would be. Instead, reports came out saying that the trade market for Spezza was softening, leaving the Senators in a bit of a bind. It sounds like a deal could have happened though, if only Spezza would have waived his no-trade clause.
General manager Bryan Murray told reporters that he had a deal that would have sent Spezza to the Nashville Predators. The veteran center would not agree to going to Nashville, however.
Sens GM Bryan Murray says he had a deal that made sense potentially with Nashville for Spezza but Spezza wouldn't waive to go there— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) June 28, 2014
Preds GM David Poile confirms he had serious interest in dealing for Spezza but was told by Spezza camp he wouldn't go to Nashville— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) June 28, 2014
That’s a kick in the teeth to the Senators as they may not have a great opportunity to maximize whatever diminishing value is left. The Predators, meanwhile, were looking to bolster offense from the center position and after adding James Neal in a trade with the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday, there could have been something interesting brewing up front. That said, the potential Spezza deal was in place before the Preds traded for Neal. So it’s unclear if the Preds would have gotten both had Spezza agreed to the deal.
The Sens were already up against it in the Spezza situation, with every team knowing he wants out. With Spezza nixing the deal, it means that market could be even thinner and that’s bad news for Ottawa. Additionally, Murray basically put the pressure on Spezza by saying the deal not getting done was his fault. Throwing the player under the bus, and in this case it may be warranted, Murray can show that he’s willing to make a deal.
Spezza has earned his preferences with the no-trade clause. He doesn’t have a responsibility to agree to something that works better for Ottawa than it does for him. If he wants out of the organization badly enough, he may have to widen his list of desired destinations.
It’s going to be interesting to watch as a lot of teams could probably use a player that has averaged better than a point-per-game over his career and has four 30-goal seasons to his name. If Spezza is picky however, and with the salary cap set at $69 million instead of the projected $71 million, it’s going to be tough to find the exact right fit for his $7 million cap hit.