The scene was repeated many times last season during the warmup at NHL rinks throughout North America. As the Senators took the ice it was inevitable within a few minutes captain Jason Spezza would be down on his knee stretching, soon to be joined by Erik Karlsson, Chris Phillips and Chris Neil. Mostly the ritual took place inside the blueline. It wasn’t a big deal. Mostly they just chatted. Hockey players are creatures of habit and this was just another one they had on their list. There is a chance one member of that group could be missing next season. The Senators decided — after much discussion and consternation — not to send coach Paul MacLean back to Antigonish to spend his time fishing so it’ll be Spezza who may be sent packing. No, the Senators aren’t going to deal Spezza at any cost and if they don’t get what they want in return then there will be no trade, but he’ll likely be shopped with hopes for a strong return. Spezza’s ‘no trade clause’ is not the full meal deal for the top centre which will allow him to pick and choose his destination like Dany Heatley did before him. A check of Spezza’s contract with a league source indicates in July 2012 his camp was required to submit a list of 10 teams where he didn’t want to be dealt. That still leaves 20 options for Ottawa. Drafted No. 2 overall by the Senators in 2001 — moments after they dealt Alexei Yashin to the New York Islanders — it would appear Spezza’s time in Ottawa may be about to come to a close. After a disappointing season that saw the Senators miss the playoffs, owner Eugene Melnyk and GM Bryan Murray have both vowed changes and Spezza’s future is on the radar screen. Murray was non-commital to Spezza. “He’s our captain, at this point, he has a year left on his contract. We’ll see where we go with him,” said Murray in his post-season availability last Tuesday. That makes it sound like the chances of Spezza being with the club in September as slim as you can get. Heading into the final year of his contract with a $7 million cap hit (and $4 million in real dollars), the Senators don’t have any plans to sign Spezza to a new deal anytime soon.
Is it time to trade Ottawa Senators captain Jason Spezza?
Ottawa Sun | Apr 21