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Spezza nixed potential Preds trade, says Murray

Jun 28, 2014, 2:04 PM EDT

JasonSpezza Getty Images

The Nashville Predators landed their coveted “big-time” forward in James Neal but, to hear Sens GM Bryan Murray explain it, the Preds were in the mix to add a second impact guy up front as well.

Murray said Ottawa captain Jason Spezza shot down a potential move to Nashville, per ESPN. Spezza, who holds a no-trade clause, reportedly wouldn’t waive in order to join the Preds, nullifying a deal that “made sense” for Ottawa. (courtesy Pierre LeBrun.)

That Murray had a deal he actually liked is significant. He lamented the lack of quality offers for Spezza leading up to the draft, then saw the market for centers change dramatically when Vancouver sent Ryan Kesler to Anaheim prior to Friday’s opening round.

For Nashville, news of the Spezza offer is significant as well. It further cements the notion that GM David Poile is doing all he can to add offense, and isn’t being held back financially in the search for a skilled center. It’s quite possible the club will now turn its attention to the free agent market — *cough* Paul Stastny *cough* — or maybe look to trade elsewhere. There were rumblings of a deal to get Eric Staal out of Carolina and reunited with Peter Laviolette in Nashville, but The Tennessean and other outlets investigated those claims without finding anything concrete.

As for Poile potentially revisiting the Spezza deal..

As for Spezza…it’ll be interesting to see how public perception goes after this. He’s now been positioned — by his own GM — as the guy that prevented a trade from happening. Even though he’s well within his rights (that’s why players negotiate no-trade clauses), Senators fans could get further frustrated with a situation that’s already been lingering for a while.

One final wrinkle — and it’s definitely worth noting — the potential Spezza-to-Nashville deal was in the works prior to the Preds landing Neal.

  1. lowenni - Jun 28, 2014 at 2:12 PM

    Spezza is the one asking for a trade. If he won’t waive his no trade clause for 90% of the teams in the league, or for the ones actually interested in him, then he’s handicapping the team that’s given him his whole career and helped establish him as a star. I get that he wants to win, but he’s forcing the Sens to trade him away for nothing because the few teams he’s willing to be traded to know that there aren’t many competitors. If Nashville had gotten him they actually would be really good with him Neal and Weber and a lot of promising youngsters. You can’t shoot down every city just cause it’s not the prettiest or something when you’re the one forcing the Sens hand. I find that classless after so many seasons in Ottawa. First Alfie leaving on bad terms and now this, must be tough for Sens fans.

    • 19to77 - Jun 28, 2014 at 2:26 PM

      It’s not “90% of the teams in the league,” it’s a 10-team NTC. And hell, that aside, why on Earth is it so offensive that Spezza doesn’t just take the first offer on the table? He’s also a human being with a family and a life outside of hockey, so this may not even have anything to do with the Predators as a team. Might just be he doesn’t want to live in Nashville. Guy’s got the right to decide where he wants to go to some degree. Sens management clearly didn’t mind giving him that control when they agreed to the trade protection in his contract.

      You want to talk about unreasonable jerkoff behaviour, talk about Ryan Kesler. When you’re saying “I want out of this organization, but you can only send me to one of these two teams,” you’re selfishly handcuffing your GM. And just to remind us all of what a classy guy he is, Kesler made a point of sh-t-talking the Canucks on his way out the door. Spezza’s hardly being unreasonable. Kesler, however, was a total ass.

    • killerpgh - Jun 28, 2014 at 2:39 PM

      Don’t forget Heatley (when is was still considered a top tier player scoring 40-50 goals a year) demanded a trade from the Senators with limited teams and nixed a trade to the Oilers. But these are rights giving to the players from the team’s GM. I thought the owners would have battled harder during the lockout to eliminate or at least limit NMC/NTC. But its in the CBA that both sides agreed to so I have no problem with either side using an mutually agreed upon right given to them by the other side.

      • sgs32 - Jun 28, 2014 at 5:36 PM

        well good for him nixing a trade to the Oilers..i’m not defending his actions though :)

      • sgs32 - Jun 28, 2014 at 5:36 PM

        well good for him nixing a trade to the Oilers..i’m not defending his actions though

    • areaman714 - Jun 28, 2014 at 4:17 PM

      Yep. His actions sparked my memory of this:

    • phtjoey - Jun 28, 2014 at 5:12 PM

      Why blame the player for a clause that was added to the terms of his contract, and approved by the owner? He is just exercising his right.

      • areaman714 - Jun 28, 2014 at 5:19 PM

        Yes. He is well within his right to do what he us doing. However, he seems to be moving very close to a prima donna complex that will turn off a lot of the very good teams in contention that he wants to go to. These teams are tightly knit (King, Ducks, Hawks . . .) and they will low ball their offer as a result. No I’d give this guy a NTC in a future contract.

  2. esracerx46 - Jun 28, 2014 at 2:14 PM

    He said he wouldn’t go to Nashville. So why even try and anger the player after he told you he would exercise his right.

    • elrock7 - Jun 28, 2014 at 11:29 PM

      He is a whining, injury prone little baby. Hope no one wants him, then he can go and try and make a KHL team.

  3. nj666 - Jun 28, 2014 at 2:30 PM

    let me guess he only wants to go to LA, CHI, ANA, or NYR. He seems like a guy who really wants to face adversary…

    • avscup - Jun 28, 2014 at 3:42 PM

      “adversary?”

      • areaman714 - Jun 28, 2014 at 4:21 PM

        Relax. A lot of folks type this stuff on their phone and autocorrect goes rogue. Use your gestalt skills and you’ll be able to comprehend what he meant.

      • avscup - Jun 28, 2014 at 7:47 PM

        I’ very relaxed. Smokin a stogie and havin a cocktail on my deck overlooking the mountains. I have an I phone and iPad. I’m well aware of auto correct.

        What I’m not sure of is why you would use a term referring to holiness in your reply? Kinda silly.

        In any case, I think he might have meant adversity or did he mean adversary?

        What do you deduce?

      • areaman714 - Jun 28, 2014 at 11:21 PM

        It would be Holism, not “holiness”. . . I would be inclined to give benefit of the doubt for an autocorrect. However, if holism was the initial intent, you’d be aware of the implied connotation in this instance . . . Enjoy your stogie.

      • lordfletcher - Jun 29, 2014 at 12:34 AM

        “I have an I phone and iPad.”

        HAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

        HAHHAHHA

        HAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!! name dropping like its cool since 1997

  4. phillyphanatic77 - Jun 28, 2014 at 2:40 PM

    This doesn’t make much sense to me from Spezza’s viewpoint. True, he has control over his trade for a reason but it’s not as if Nashville is Buffalo (no offense to the Sabres, they’re building well). This is a team that just added a legitimate 30-goal scorer to go along with some decent guys up front like Craig Smith, Mike Fisher, and Colin Wilson. Not marquee names but guys who will put up 20 or so goals. And then some decent prospects like Gabriel Bourque, Filip Forsberg, and Calle Jarnkrok. The rest of the forwards are aging vets who are okay like Matt Cullen or Nystrom. But the real talent is on their backend. Nashville has a shot at producing the most offense from their blueline in the entire NHL. Shea Weber, Roman Josi, Ryan Ellis, and Seth Jones. Plus a healthy Pekka Rinne would do wonders.

    Add in two legitimate offensive threats like James Neal and Spezza (plus whatever they get in FA) and Nashville is atleast a playoff team. In fact, right now the Sens forward group might be worse than the Preds (minus Spezza). And if Spezza doesn’t like it he can become an unrestricted free agent.

    • rmccleary97 - Jun 28, 2014 at 7:08 PM

      Are the Preds with Spezza a threat to get out of the West? Are they even a threat to get out of the Central? You know there’s Chicago and St. Louis, there’s Colorado (are the Avs a flash in the pan or are the legitimate for years to come?), there’s Minnesota (which could be dangerous if it can find a goalie), there’s a budding Dallas squad, there’s the ever-discussed potential of Winnipeg, … and that’s before we even discuss what Nashville would have to give up to land Spezza.

      Spezza isn’t interested in a team that maybe will scratch its way into a playoff spot.

      • phillyphanatic77 - Jun 29, 2014 at 2:22 PM

        All legitimate points, but it’s also the NHL and there are no guarantees every team that’s good one season will repeat. Yes, Chicago and St.Louis are pretty surefire. But Colorado may be a little less competitive if Stastny and/or ROR move. Plus their D needs upgrading and Varlamov put up a herculean effort. Minnesota is good but they’re no juggereffort; especially if they lose Moulson and don’t land a top FA. And their goalie situation is questionable. Dallas is a team I really like. If they poach Stastny then their top-6 is lethal and young. Their blueline needs work but some quality youth will step in and they have a good to stellar goalie (depending on the night). I’m not saying it would be easy with Nashville but there’s a good amount of parity in the NHL. No matter where Spezza goes his arrival will weaken his team in other areas. When all healthy Nashville is a defensive stalwart, add in Spezza and Neal (minus what they gave up of course) and you still have a pretty good team. Neal would probably pop 35- 40 next to Spezza and Spezza would be in his usual 75-85 range.

        I’m not saying they’d win a Cup but I truly believe there’s more talent on the Preds than the Sens. And like I said, if he doesn’t like it he can leave.

    • padam138 - Jun 29, 2014 at 11:30 AM

      You have to keep in mind that the Neal trade came after the proposed Spezza trade, so there was no Neal when the offer was made. That also means Neal could’ve been a plan B for the Preds, and if that’s the case then they prolly gave up some of the pieces they offered for Spezza.

  5. thesportsjudge - Jun 28, 2014 at 2:46 PM

    So was Nashville on the list, or is it a basic hard list then an expansion on top?

  6. atwatercrushesokoye - Jun 28, 2014 at 2:56 PM

    If I’m Murray and the Sens I would give Spezza and his agent the opportunity to go find a trade suitor (from a list the Sens give him) then I’d quit thinking about it. Focus on free agency and improving the team, if Spezza and co. find a suitable trade? Great! If they don’t? Well camp opens in September, Spezza better report, and since he’s going into his final year he’s going to have to play well or he’ll hurt his free agent value.

    This takes all of the pressure off of the Senators and puts it onto Spezza, his agent and whichever teams they find.

    • dueman - Jun 28, 2014 at 4:44 PM

      This is why you’re no GM. So Murray does this, and Then Spezza decides “okay, I’ll just play out my year” – Then he simply goes to the team of his choice as a free agent, and Ottawa gets NOTHING, period. Congratulations, you’re the GM of the year, not!

      Murray should quit whinning publically about Spezza’s NTC (which he gave him) He already has Spezza’s list of 10 teams….so he should concentrate on the 20 that aren’t on it, and just forget about the 10 that are! The more that Murray whines about this, the higher odds that free agents will simply just avoid Ottawa in the future…

      • atwatercrushesokoye - Jun 28, 2014 at 5:58 PM

        Granted I don’t have the armchair GM pedigree that you do, but very few do right? I agree Murray should keep his mouth shut (there was no need to release this other than to make Spezza look bad to the fans), but granting Spezza the chance to go talk to other teams and find one that he likes actually increases the odds of a trade taking place. Do you honestly think that upon hearing that the Sens are empowering him in the process he would react by saying that he will finish his contract and go where he chooses? He’s already being given the chance to choose where he wants to go (within certain parameters) both sides get what they want.

        There should be no urgency to trade him now, Spezza is the one who wants the trade, why rush it? Wait until the right deal comes, teams will panic July 3rd when they’ve missed out on free agents, October 5th when their team struggled in the preseason and at next year’s trade deadline when teams always overpay.

      • dueman - Jun 28, 2014 at 7:17 PM

        Good try at flipping the tone of your comment, but this is entirely not what you said in the previous comment. – “If I’m Murray and the Sens I would give Spezza and his agent the opportunity to go find a trade suitor (from a list the Sens give him) then I’d quit thinking about it.” – What does the Sens giving Spezza a list do to improve things for either side? It does nothing, except show contempt at the fact that Spezza’s contract allows him to submit a no-trade list. It is just a failed attempt to reverse the situation onto Spezza…In other words, you were simply trying to show spite. Trying to turn it around by giving Spezza a “list” is by NO means empowering him as you claim with this comment – “Do you honestly think that upon hearing that the Sens are empowering him in the process he would react by saying that he will finish his contract and go where he chooses? – Good try though…

      • atwatercrushesokoye - Jun 28, 2014 at 8:31 PM

        What are you talking about? The Sens have teams they won’t deal with (their division rivals), it’s not a secret that they won’t trade a good player to a team that they’ll face several times in the year, so they’d be giving him the chance to negotiate with 22 other teams, how does that show spite? If he were so inclined he could even negotiate an extension with that team before the trade is made, again how does that show spite?

        They gave him the no trade clause, that’s on them, they have to honor it, but he’s the one that wants the divorce, I don’t see any reason for them to run out and start calling the other 12 teams (the 19 remaining minus their 7 division rivals) to deal him, they’ve got other things to focus on, such as free agency, if they don’t find a trade they like that comes to them and that fits his criteria (why he being a part of the process would be helpful) I see nothing wrong with them telling him that camp opens in September, they’ll see him then.

        As I pointed out at the end of my last comment, they’ll have several chances to trade him going forward, so wait until it works best for them.

  7. Hard to BeLeaf - Jun 28, 2014 at 3:16 PM

    Spezza sounds like my wife when it’s time to pick a restaurant to go have dinner at.

    Me: “Where do you want to go for dinner?”
    Her: “Oh, I don’t know. It doesn’t really matter… you pick!”
    Me: “Ok, let’s go get Italian!”
    Her: “No, no I don’t like that place”
    Me: “Ok… Want to try that new Mexican place?
    Her: “Eww, god NO!”
    Me: “Ribs place? Burger joint? Chinese restaurant?”
    Her: “Uhhh… no nothing greasy”

    *hour and a half later*

    Me: “Screw it, we’re ordering Pizza. What do you want on it?”
    Her: “Oh, I don’t know. It doesn’t really matter… you pick!”

    • c9castine - Jun 28, 2014 at 4:12 PM

      I feel like you just described every day of my life between 5-8pm

    • handsofsweed - Jun 28, 2014 at 8:24 PM

      Well, as of 8:23 pm, we know we have at least 3 women that read this site, given the thumbs down count on your post, BeLeaf!

  8. pj608 - Jun 28, 2014 at 3:25 PM

    No trade clauses should be disallowed in the league. I mean you can play great a year or what not then sign a big contract and just stop playing to your potential. For 1. 2…. It will make players play better knowing if they don’t produce they will be traded and 3. They can get more from spezza from other teams but the teams he wants to go to which are all cup contenders won’t give as much. Vancouver could have gotten a way better trade for Kessler but instead now anehiem is all jacked up and barely shaved a hair to get that kind of a player. Dumbest thing in all of sports.

    • avscup - Jun 28, 2014 at 3:54 PM

      What kind of player do you speak of when mentioning Kessler. The one that is usually hurt and never plays 70+ games for $5M/year or the classy guy that slams his former team he demanded a trade from after they accommodate his wishes. What an ass! Glad he isn’t an Av. We need toughness, not prima Donna types like Kessler!

    • rmccleary97 - Jun 28, 2014 at 7:03 PM

      Or, maybe GM’s could exercise some discipline and not lob 7/42 and a full NMC at a guy just because he’s 28, a UFA, and coming off of one (1) semi-decent season, because of some misguided “well, that’s a sign of things to come” notion. If you think some guy is going to quit playing to his potential when you sign him to a big deal, *don’t sign him to one in the first place*.

      • avscup - Jun 28, 2014 at 7:42 PM

        Indeed!

      • pj608 - Jun 29, 2014 at 12:07 AM

        right but look at guys like Clarkson, Vanek in the playoffs, Scott gomez and there are others too that could be mentioned. A team grabbed these guys thinking they will perform at the highest level and then BAM! Vacation time. I am sorry but Vaneks performance in the playoffs was one of the saddest things since I’ve seen Rick Nash play which is another guy that is no where near as good as he was in CBJ and hes now making 8 million a year. Its not something people can see before hand its just something that happens. Why? I dont know. But give me 8 million and i will play harder than Rick Nash for any team regardless of where it is or who its with.

  9. areaman714 - Jun 28, 2014 at 4:24 PM

    It is not wise to part with valuable assets for a player with an attitude problem, no?

  10. lordfletcher - Jun 28, 2014 at 4:27 PM

    Not shocked by this news as I always figured Nashville to be on the list of teams he would not accept a trade to…. that said, I do think he should have, as he dramatically changes Nashville as a team. Finally giving them a point getting center they need. If Spezza and Neal could stay healthy, the could put up some very good points for a few seasons

    Curious to know what the deal would have been tho, figure a package of picks / Del Z / Forsberg / Something ?

  11. chanceoffleury - Jun 28, 2014 at 6:17 PM

    Part of me feels like NTCs should be voided if the player formally requests a trade, and another part says “well the team gave it to them so they’re just exercising their rights”. They sign these huge contracts and then throw hissy fits when the team’s talent doesn’t pan out as they’d hoped it would. They want out as soon as they realize they aren’t just gonna keep getting better forever, and that they don’t all drink from the Marty St. Louis fountain of youth, and their talent level is going to start declining due to age sooner rather than later. Then they throw another fit when the team tries to send them somewhere without practically giving away an asset they grew and built all their own for a bag of pucks.

    It’s like I said with the Hartnell trade, it’s admirable of a guy to be able to recognize going to a team that would be THRILLED to have him even if they aren’t as headlining as the team you’re on isn’t such a bad option. Spezza is going to end up leaving Ottawa burning the bridge with the organization and fans. Those GMs take a big risk by letting the player have a NTC with a big cap hit, but more and more players seem to just not give a **** and demand to be traded to a contender. And at the end of the day, even if Ottawa only gave him a 10 team NTC, you have to assume that will almost always be to the bottom 10 teams in the league. So Ottawa now has 19 teams to choose from, not too bad, right? No. Because the reality is that Chicago, Philly, Pittsburgh, Boston, LA, Tampa, and the Rangers all need to add a guy with a 7 million dollar cap hit about as much as they need a hole in their head. Go ahead and remove Detroit, Montreal, and Toronto, too. Because does Ottawa really want to trade one of their best offensive assets to a top competitor unless the inter-division trade partner is willing to give a king’s ransom in return? Sharks say they want to get younger so I doubt a 31 year old forward is on their short list of assets to bend over backwards to acquire. It didn’t take very long to widdle that 19 team list down to 8 teams. And that’s assuming all 8 teams are interested (they probably all aren’t) and Ottawa also doesn’t want to take a deal that screws them over in the process. Plus, with Ottawa getting rid of Spezza’s cap hit, there is a concern about making sure they hit the cap floor. Nobody wants to have to oversign FAs to huge contracts they aren’t worth just because you need to hit the floor.

    • pj608 - Jun 29, 2014 at 12:11 AM

      I agree… as long as its not just out of the blue like he missed a shot so your going to play net in Edmonton. SHAME ON YOU! but yeah. If the guy asks for a trade who the hell is he to say where he can go. You wanna leave. Fu## yourself, We have been paying you now we will get the most we can for you. I mean hes their top player. Whats a team like chicago gonna offer? Bollig, and shaw? Teams like that arent going to give up a top player for some new guy when they obviously have something good going already.

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