Kukla's Korner Hockey
by George Malik on 06/26/14 at 01:53 AM ET
The free agent "wining and dining period" has been a bit of a pain in the rear to keep up with, but it's at least intriguing to witness player agents just cut out the middleman and tell actual reputable sources, "Oh yeah, we met with team X, team Y and team Z" instead of having to read someone's column about "league sources" (who are almost always agents or hopeful GM's).
But the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch has arrived in Philadelphia, and it wouldn't be the draft or five days till free agency if Garrioch didn't provide us with both an update on Jason Spezza's status...
It's believed as many as five teams -- including St. Louis, Anaheim, Phoenix, Nashville and Florida -- have made calls on the Ottawa captain. The club is mulling over what route to take.
With Spezza requesting a trade, the Senators would like to have a deal in place by Friday, but the club would like to get a No. 1 pick to replace the one Ottawa gave up in the deal for Bobby Ryan with Anaheim last summer.
Murray along with assistant GM's Pierre Dorion and Randy Lee were expected to sit down Wednesday to discuss the different scenarios because this is a deal that has a chance to be a game-changer.
The Senators will be well-prepared if they do get a No. 1 pick because they've known since the end of the season the possibility of trading Spezza this week existed when he asked to be dealt.
"Internally, Bryan told us at a certain time, what Jason's possible demands were," said Dorion at the club's recent pre-draft availability. "We've talked about it for awhile so we've prepared for every type of scenario. We've known since (Spezza) came in and asked Bryan. We met with the pro scouts (two weeks ago), we met with the amateur scouts in May and those guys are aware. We've gone through every team in the league."
“There is a lot out there and there are a lot of teams talking,” said a league executive Wednesday. “We’ll find in the next couple of days which teams really want to make moves and which are kicking tires. It should be interesting. There are as many names out there as we’ve heard in years. Teams want to make changes.”
Specific rumors included:
lorida GM Dale Tallon is listening to offers for his No. 1 pick but hasn’t put a price tag on it. The Oilers made a pitch for the pick the day after the draft lottery was held to move up from No. 3. It’s believed the Leafs and Flames have both made calls along with the Canucks. “Tallon is playing this perfectly,” said another league executive. “He’s playing the Canadian teams off against each other and creating a bidding war.” The belief is the Panthers want either Halifax winger Nikolaj Ehlers or William Nylander. Tallon knows he can get either of those players at No. 7 or No. 8 so it may make sense to move back.
A guy to keep an eye on is Winnipeg winger Evander Kane. He isn’t being shopped around by the Jets, but GM Kevin Cheveldayoff is listening to all offers. With four years left at a cap hit of $5.25 million, some wonder if the Bruins might be a good fit for Kane.
A guy to keep an eye on his San Jose centre Joe Thornton. He hasn’t been shopped but Sharks GM Doug Wilson has maintained it’s time to rebuild. The Sharks had 111 points last season so nobody really believes that’s the case but you get the sense Wilson is sending a message to Thornton that it’s time for a change. With a full ‘No Movement’ clause he controls his own destiny and could really make life difficult for Wilson if he says he’ll only go to either Anaheim or Los Angeles. The more likely scenario is Wilson gets three or four teams involved and then let’s Thornton make the choice.
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