By Allan Muir
Ottawa Senators GM Bryan Murray was never going to have an easy time getting full trade value for his reluctant No. 1 center, Jason Spezza. It turns out that it might be even more difficult than he imagined.
According to TSN's Darren Dreger, Spezza's no-movement clause allowed him to submit a list of 10 clubs to which he would not accept a trade. Dreger says that list includes the other six Canadian teams as well as the New York Islanders, Nashville Predators, Columbus Blue Jackets, and Florida Panthers. The identity of the two other American-based teams is unknown, but a player agent unaffiliated with Spezza's camp speculated that the Buffalo Sabres and New Jersey Devils were the most likely choices.
However, Steve Lloyd of TSN 1200 in Ottawa says he's hearing that Spezza left Montreal and Toronto off his list because of the extremely remote chance that the Sens would be willing to trade their leading scorer to an arch-rival. In effect, that expands his no-trade list to 12 teams--a nice play by Spezza and his agent.
The Sabres make sense. It's unlikely that the 31-year-old Spezza has any interest in being part of a long-term rebuild. But New Jersey? A first-line center who could spice up the Devils' power play might be all that separates them from returning to the playoffs next season.
The frontrunners for Spezza's services are believed to be St. Louis Blues and Anaheim Ducks, with the Dallas Stars as a possible dark horse destination.
UPDATE: We've been waiting for a team to take umbrage to one of these no-trade snubs. It hasn't happened yet, but Aaron Portzline delivers the next best thing: