There have been some rumblings across the interwebs recently that the Ottawa Senators may be shopping center Jason Spezza and his 7.0 million per year cap hit. Our SBNation cohort Silver Seven discusses the possibility.
In his article, Peter makes mention of a link to a Bleacher Report article where the author speculates that Florida and Columbus could be the favourites if Spezza were to be dealt. The Bleacher Report isn't exactly a reputable source, but it does make my head fill with visions of Spezza feeding Rick Nash pucks on a consistent basis.
Before we play armchair GM, let's look at some facts:
- Columbus has more available cap space than any team in the NHL, according to nhlscap.com. The team that hypothetically acquires Spezza would need to have the room to fit him in. This doesn't take into account an internal budget, which of course the Jackets have. It's been noted in the past however that the ownership group would expand the budget if it meant acquiring an asset which could lead to a lengthy run in the playoffs and made sense long term.
- Columbus has never had a number one center who is in his prime. Spezza is just that.
- The Jackets are in possession of a valuable commodity: the fourth overall pick.
- Columbus and Ottawa have a history of making deals with each other. (Vermette for Leclaire and a 2nd two deadlines ago)
Spezza is a very good playmaker. A sublime passer, who when paired with a sniper can do serious damage offensively. The downside to his game however is in the defensive zone. His defensive zone play is below average. Spezza is a guy who needs the puck on his stick. At the end of the day though, Spezza has the potential to lead this team in scoring, not to mention make a 50 goal man out of Rick Nash.
Now, time for the armchair GM part. In the BR article, the author mentions a conversation with an Ottawa reporter who endorses the following deal:
Spezza to Columbus for Brassard, the fourth overall pick, and one of Columbus' second rounders.
If I'm Scott Howson I do this. Brass still has value and could one day be a natural replacement for Spezza in Ottawa. The second rounder is a Bryan Murray special- and the big chip is the fourth overall pick. Columbus is in a position to draft one of the big three blueliners- Fowler, Gudbranson or Gormley. Given the improved depth and skill level of the defensive pipeline since Howson took over, this pick is somewhat expendable. Especially if it's dealt for a franchise center.
This is all speculation, but as they say- where there's smoke, there's fire. Color me a happy fan if Spezza becomes a Blue Jacket, especially if he's acquired for the speculated package in the BR article.