Updates on Jason Spezza, Ryan Kesler, Evander Kane and Dustin Byfuglien, plus the latest on the Red Wings and Capitals.
OTTAWA SUN/OTTAWA CITIZEN: Bruce Garrioch and Ken Warren report Senators GM Bryan Murray still seeks a player, first-round pick and prospect for Jason Spezza. He hints at Spezza returning with the Senators next season if he doesn’t get an offer to his liking this summer. The St. Louis Blues, Anaheim Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks are believed the most interest, with the Dallas Stars “kicking the tires”. The Florida Panthers are also believed to have reached out to Murray, though they’re on Spezza’s “no-trade” list.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I expect Spezza will be moved this weekend. There’s obviously interest in him, it’s simply a matter of negotiating a deal. While Murray says he’ll keep Spezza if he doesn’t get the deal he wants, I believe this is posturing on his part. Obviously Murray won’t just give away Spezza, but he can’t be so stubborn that he kills off potential interest with that high asking price, nor does he need the unwanted distraction over Spezza’s future dogging the club throughout next season.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson wonders if the Vancouver Canucks will trade Ryan Kesler to Anaheim, Chicago or Pittsburgh before the draft. He reports the Ducks won’t move the 10th overall pick but are willing to part with the 24th. Canucks GM Jim Benning suggests he might get more for Kesler at the trade deadline than he would during the summer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It would be easier for the Canucks to move Kesler now, rather than have questions about his future hanging over the club. I think he’ll get better offers now than at the trade deadline, as teams have more cap space and willingness to deal now than they will at the deadline.
WINNIPEG SUN/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Ken Wiebe and Tim Campbell report there is plenty of interest in Jets winger Evander Kane, while Wiebe notes there’s also some interest in Dustin Byfuglien. Wiebe also noted Kane favorited a tweet suggesting he be dealt to the Philadelphia Flyers, though he subsequently removed it. It’s been reported the Flyers also have interest in Byfuglien. Wiebe doesn’t see much of a return coming from the Flyers. He wonders if the Jets made a significant offer to the Florida Panthers for the first-overall pick, noting a report suggesting Kane or Byfuglien plus the ninth overall for first-overall pick. He considers that price too steep. Wiebe also reports backup Al Montoya is headed to free agency. Campbell, meanwhile, reports Kane isn’t talking while GM Kevin Cheveldayoff didn’t exactly deny the trade speculation. Gary Lawless, however, reports if the Jets are willing to shop Kane it won’t be for the sake of making a trade. Lawless believes they’ll want equal value in return.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless Kane is forcing the issue I believe it would be a mistake for the Jets to move him. Still, if they are to do so they should get a significant return. Given the choice between moving Kane or Byfuglien I’d suggest moving the latter, as his trade value won’t be as high as it is right now. He’s approaching 30 and hanging on to him for too long could hurt his value. Kane, meanwhile, is in his early-twenties with his best seasons still ahead of him. His value can still rise after next season, Byfuglien’s won’t.
MLIVE.COM/DETROIT NEWS: Ansar Khan and Ted Kulfan reports Red Wings GM Ken Holland seeks a top-four defenseman with a right-handed shot. They’ve been linked to Phoenix’s Keith Yandle, Winnipeg’s Dustin Byfuglien, Buffalo’s Tyler Myer and Toronto’s Cody Franson, but Holland is unwilling to part with young forwards like Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar, Riley Sheahan or Tomas Jurco. He’s also planning to speak with pending UFA blueliners Dan Boyle and Matt Niskanen.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wouldn’t surprise me if the Wings look toward the UFA market for short-term defensive help.
WASHINGTON POST: Alex Prewitt lists five possible trade chips for the Capitals to upgrade their blueline and add a veteran backup goalie. Among them are Troy Brouwer, Joel Ward, Dmitri Orlov and Mike Green.