NHL Morning Rumor Mill – March 24, 2014

The latest on Jason Spezza, Cam Ward, Ville Leino, Sven Baertschi and Devan Dubnyk.

Will the Senators re-sign or trade Jason Spezza this summer?

Will the Senators re-sign or trade Jason Spezza this summer?

OTTAWA SUN: Don Brennan notes Jason Spezza has one season remaining on his contract, believing management must decide if they’ll re-sign him or trade him this summer. Spezza says he hasn’t given any thought to his future beyond this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Spezza, who turns 31 in June, has an average annual cap hit of $7 million on his current contract, though he earned $5 million in actual salary this season and will make $4 million next season. When healthy he’s nearly a point-per-game player but he has been hampered  in recent years by back and groin injuries. If he wants to stay in Ottawa he’ll either have to accept less money or a shorter term. This summer could indeed be an interesting one for Spezza and the Senators. Bear in mind he also has a no-trade clause, which will narrow the trade options for the Senators. It’s rumored the Anaheim Ducks expressed interest in Spezza leading up to this year’s trade deadline.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson reports the Sabres may want to buy out the remainder of Ville Leino’s contract but they might have to keep him to reach next season’s salary cap minimum…He suggests the New York Islanders or Washington Capitals as trade destinations for Carolina Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward…Matheson notes the Calgary Flames haven’t recalled Sven Baertschi this season but might not be keen to trade him this summer…He also cites an NHL executive speculating former Oilers goalie Devan Dubnyk might not get an NHL contract next season and might need to start in the AHL next season to build himself back up.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leino has three more years at a cap hit of $4.5 million remaining on his contract. Retaining him just to reach the cap minimum for next season isn’t a good idea if he’s going to see little ice time…The Islanders could have interest in Ward but the Capitals might try to re-sign Jaroslav Halak. They also have to figure out where Braden Holtby and Philipp Grubauer fit into their plans…Baertschi could get another shot to prove himself next season…Dubnyk is a UFA this summer but his stock is very low right now. If he does sign with an NHL team it’ll be as a backup for considerably less than the $3.5 million annual cap hit of his current deal.


  1. Sorry, this off topic I guess but..

    Where are those people that said that Reimer doesn’t suck? He let in too many bad goals again. Time to let him go, find a qualified backup. A number one goalie should be able to steal you a game, instead with the bad goals, he has almost cost the leafs a playoff spot.

    • Actually it’s been a team-wide initiative to start this free-fall in the standings. Have you seen how the team itself has been playing? Reimer is the scapegoat. Sure he’s not playing strongly from game-to-game but show me someone on the roster who has. Most of the goals are a result of poor decision making, untimely or unnecessary penalties, bad giveaways, or poor coverage (like Stamkos being left in front of the net alone *twice*). This team has been Jekyll and Hyde all season and that’s no way for a team to play.

      • Agree with you. Leafs give up way too shots on goal and quality shots. It’s far more on the defense than on Reimer. Has he been as good as Bernier? No, but he’s far from the bad goalie many portray him to be.

      • I’m sorry, but 3 goals on 10 shots is not on the team.Allowing goals that any pee-wee kid can save is not on the team.Reimer’s .872 save % in the last 5 games is not on the team.Stop making excuses for him.Reimer has NEVER made the saves when it matters, not last year, when the Leafs could have avoided Boston, and Reimer went on a streak of sift goals to end the season.Not in game 7 last year , when he couldn’t hold a 3-goal lead for 11 minutes(make any excuse you want, a real starter would have won that game, that’s what starters do,make the big saves when it matters),and not this year,when the playoffs are on the line, and routine saves somehow seem too tough for him to handle.It’s time for “Floptimus Reim” to take responsibility for his below-average play, and stop blaming everyone else.

    • That’s pretty funny how that goes with Reimer and Leaf fans. He’s ,like I’ve said many times before he is just a glorified backup nothing more.

      • Agreed.

  2. Memo to Bob Murray @ Ducks. Stay away from Spezza, if you have the urge to make a trade, go for a Decent D-man.

  3. The Sabres need to cut bait with Leino – he’s just taking up space. Pegula has the $, let him go and just move on – or maybe let him go play in Europe or the KHL – pennies on the dollar?

  4. When asked about the cap floor, Murray said that he’s never met a GM who has had a problem with it…that it seems to take care of itself.

    I’m assuming that the Sabres will buy out Leino and pick up some free agents to fill out the salary gap.

    • Agreed!!

  5. I hope Spezza moves on this Summer. I love everything Spezza has done for the Sens, but this team needs to shed its Heatly, Spezza, Alfie era completely and move on. I think one of the biggest issues for Ottawa is they have so much forward talent in their system they can’t give proper ice time or find compliment pieces for them. Turris and Zibinejad are ready for the #1 #2 role. Move Spezza for a top 6 winger, a solid veteran defenseman, and either a decent pick, prospect, or depth forward.

    I think they should focus on resigning Hemsky and see how Turris, Zibs, Ryan, Hemsky, Stone/Lazar/Puempel + new winger performs as the top 6. There are a number of NHL teams who would be seeking a #1 center like Spezza. Toronto, Montreal, Nashville, Phoenix, Columbus, New York Rangers and certainly more teams who would be interested in adding a great #2 behind their top guy and with a reduced salary for the year he could attract some considerable interest providing he waives his NTC.

    • What are you hoping in return for Spezza? He’s pretty injury riddled.

      Columbus already has it’s number one in Johansen and Rangers already have Richards, Stepan and Kreider as 1, 2 and 3 no?

      • Thanks, Jes. I was just about to point out that Ryno is having a break out season, leading the Jackets in goals. Plus he has a lot of assists. What else do you want from a #1 center?

      • @Jes,
        Kreider is not a center. He is a natural LW, but plays both sides. Richards is more than likely to be bought out regardless of how he performs this year. They Have Brassard (RFA), Richards, Boyle (UFA) and Moore (UFA). All that being said I don’t think Spezza is a good fit anyway. I can see the Rangers chasing Stastny before trading for Spezza. Or maybe just keeping Richards if all else fails. They do not have a lot of pieces outside their starting roster to really trade for Spezza. And trading away roster players would destroy their depth.

  6. I think if they traded Spezza there would be a lineup for him. Everyone wants a bonafide big playmaking #1 centre. They Leafs would never get him no matter how much I would like to see him next to Lupul. Can’t trade him to your main rival.

    I would argue more teams would be interested in Spezza than Statsny.

    • Stasny has more points and is ten times as good defensively… Likely to cost around the same as Spezza. Its not even close. Stasny is far better than Spezza.

      • Sorry was wrong about the points Spezza has 10 more (58) points but is minus 22, Stasny has 48 points and is plus 8 playing against most teams top lines. Im not so suree many would take Spezza over Stasny.

        • Plus-minus is a terrible stat to use, it gets inflated when playing on a good team and the opposite when playing on a bad one.

          Spezza also plays against other teams’ top lines. He is two years older than Stasny and somewhat injury prone nowadays though. He’d cost less to get than Stasny, but he definitely wouldn’t be cheap. Point per-game centers don’t come by often.

        • No way Stastny is better than Spezza. It’s ridiculous that you’re comparing them on a small sample size. Especially one where the Avs are playing good hockey and the Sens are not. +/- is a skewed stat. Play on a bad team, have generally a bad rating. It’s not solely on the player’s individual effort. Including this season Spezza is a career +58 and Stastny a +8 (a +8 on a team playing very, very well, so actually not that great). I think 29 GM’s would disagree with you (the exception being maybe Avs GM lol) Stanstny better than Spezza Lmao

          • Lol the Avs have been bad for years, where the Sens have been decent Stasny is a plus over his career not just this year. Id rather have a player who is only 28 is hard to play against good in all zones and dosent take nights off and will probably not cost a 7 million dollar cap hit.

      • Stastny is great on faceoffs and plays an up-tempo game. But he benefitted earlier in his career by playing in a fairly open NHL and got this reputation as a top player. He can still produce, but will never quite be the first line center he was expected to be. He takes lazy stick penalties, is not physical, and isn’t that clutch. Spezza is a bonafide first line center, Stastny is not.

  7. Can’t really comment on Stasny vs. Spezza as I haven’t really seen the Colorado player play enough to form a strong opinion however Spezza is still a top centre in the league and on a good team would make an excellent #2 and on a weaker teams like Toronto a solid #1. Getting rid of him would be the easy part but replacing him would be difficult if not impossible, at least in the short term. In my opinion Turris is not a true #1 at this point of his career, neither is Zibanejad and Lazar is still in junior. If Spezza wants to stay (perhaps a big if) and provided his price is within reason the team is better with him in the lineup. The real problems with the team this year lie elsewhere.

  8. Stastny and Spezza are both band aids and by that I mean wheel chairs and by that I mean no thanks. Has either played a full season ?