Jason Spezza’s lengthy run in Ottawa is almost at its end.
Before Wednesday’s Stanley Cup final game four, Senators general manager Bryan Murray revealed his captain has requested a trade and the team will try to accommodate him in the offseason.
Murray added he hopes to “send him somewhere we don’t have to play [against] him every night.”
“He requested we give him a chance to go elsewhere,” was how Murray framed it to reporters after he left the GM meetings in New York.
Spezza is going to be a challenging piece to try to move. There will be demand, as centres are going to be highly coveted this summer – especially with so few available in free agency – but he turns 31 on Friday and is coming off a difficult 11th season in Ottawa.
Spezza is also in the final year of his contract and comes with a $7-million cap hit, which won’t be easy for every team to handle, even with the salary cap expected to rise into at least the $69-million range.
Add in the fact he has never been a defensive stalwart and his offensive game has slipped some – he had 66 points in 75 games this season – and Murray may have to get creative to bring back some decent assets.
Two possible fits in the Western Conference will be the Anaheim Ducks, who Murray has dealt with in the recent past, and the Nashville Predators, who continue to try to add more offensive talent.
There may also be openings in Colorado and San Jose depending what happens with Paul Stastny and Joe Thornton.
Spezza wanting out isn’t a huge surprise. It’s long been rumoured the team was looking to move him, and with the Sens on a self-imposed budget, they will be looking to get younger. They also have options down the middle with Mika Zibanejad expected to play a bigger role, so Spezza could theoretically be moved for help at another position.