Senators GM Bryan Murray met with the media in Ottawa today to discuss the ongoing Jason Spezza trade talks, the team's current free agents and the 2014 Entry Draft.
Here's what he had to say...
On if there is a lot of interest in Jason Spezza:
Well there are discussions going on. There are certain teams that have called and shown interest in discussing the possibility. That's about it.
On a timeframe for a potential trade:
I don't know, all we do in our business is investigate. When there's a request from a player you investigate possibilities and you talk about it and negotiate. When you negotiate it sometimes takes a week — it's not very often it's one phone call — sometimes it's many. In this case it appears there will be many.
On if Spezza could play in Ottawa next season:
To me, as I've told Jason and Rick Curran his agent, I have to be somewhat satisfied. I don't think when you trade a player of Jason's calibre you ever win [the trade], I know that. You try to get the best return you can. If it's not satisfactory we can't do it and he has a year left on his contract.
On if this potential trade scenario is different from exploring offers for Spezza in 2010:
I don't think there's a lot different. I think there's a time in some players' careers that they want to experience something different and I believe that's the case here.
On if he's disappointed with the trade request:
I'm always disappointed that we haven't been able to satisfy players, be it Jason or any other player that has asked for a trade. It's probably a little more commonplace now. I've talked to a few managers and there are a couple other players in the league that are fairly high profile and wouldn't mind moving. Yes, it's disappointing but you have to try to put the players in a competitive situation, try to show them that you're winning or you can win and if that doesn't do it you do what you have to do.
On the reasons for the trade request:
The only explanation I have is he would like to try something different. He thinks that the fingers are pointed quite often at him in Ottawa, winning or losing, he gets credit or he gets blamed. I think he feels it's time to do something else.
On if he thinks that assessment is fair:
That's not for me to judge, you people can judge that. All I can do is react. As long as you're not too tough on me it's okay.
On Spezza's relationship with Coach MacLean:
I think there were times, and there are with any coach or any player, where they want to play more or they want to be more important or do other things — and Jason told me this at the end — he understood what Paul was trying to do. That's not the reason. That's what he told me.
On how this effects draft preparation:
It's just another number of phone calls you have to make on a daily basis to see if you can do something to satisfy the player and the team. I can assure you we're looking to satisfy our hockey team, we're looking to win here and we're looking for a return that will give us that chance. It makes it a little bit busier is all.
On if he'd allow a potential trade partner to negotiate an extension with Spezza:
Not until I get a deal done.
On if there are offers that have piqued his interest:
We're talking, we've gone back and forth with a couple of teams more than others obviously because there is a little bit of interest in what we're talking about.
On if his hands are tied by a limited no-trade clause:
I think any time you eliminate teams it makes it more difficult. When you eliminate 10 teams that's a third of the league, but we gave him that so that's his leverage to get control of where he might go.
On the potential type of return:
I don't know if everything is on the table yet, a couple teams have made a presentation, I've asked for certain other things. I'm hoping it's not finished. I'm hoping there will be more we can talk about with the teams that are interested.
On the differences between this situation and the Heatley scenario:
You don't win deals when you have top players and you trade them. You hope you get a package that helps your team or the future of your team. It's not quite as extreme as Dany Heatley, I don't think. Dany came in and basically said, "I'm out of here." Jason hasn't really done that, he has come in and asked if we would consider this for him.
On the perception of the team with the departures of Heatley, Alfredsson and potentially Spezza:
They'd been here a long time in each case — Dany wasn't here a long time but he saw something better elsewhere I suspect and wanted to try that. Alfie was an exception I think. He was at the end of his career or close to the end of his career. He wanted to experience a different thing and had talked to the Swedes in Detroit and it ended up that he went there. As I told you last year at the time, their team was not much different than our team but he wanted to give it that try. Jason, I think it's just long-term being here and being the star most years that he feels the finger pointing or whatever it may be — he hasn't been able to lead the way here — that maybe it's time to try something different. That's all I can really tell you about it.
On if he'd like this deal done soon:
Of course, any time you feel you have to make a trade or you want to make a trade, the earlier the better. But, you may not get the same value in return. I'm not going to rush into it just for the sake of rushing into it to get it out of the way. I'm going to get what I think the value is for Jason Spezza.
On the impact of other star centres potentially being available:
I've talked to other teams that have centres, they don't know what they're doing any more than I do as far as what value they can get for these people. It does give a team that's trying to acquire one a little leverage, there's no doubt about that.
On Michalek's status:
We've made an offer to Milan, he indicated at the end of the year that he really liked Ottawa, would like to come back here. I've talked to his agent, made a proposal and they told me they'd get back to me. I'm just waiting... I think we can make a deal, the people that we're dealing with like to make deals. The fact Milan likes it here, has been treated well here and he's treated us well, I think we have a pretty good chance.
On if RFA negotiations have begun:
Every player that was restricted has been negotiated with. Pierre can update you on a couple but we're certainly at a stage where we're going back and forth with numbers.
On what he wants at the draft:
I want a superstar if I can get one but picking 40 it may be a little harder. With our staff I'm sure they'll do a good job.
On if he could move up at the draft:
Depending if we do a deal ahead of time, there is a possibility, yes.
On if he is looking to fill any specific need at the draft:
I like the organization, the young guys coming we have some really good people. There's no particular item or player we're looking at as far as a real, real need. Obviously we're looking for a good player and someone who can fit in. We can always make room no matter what position for a good guy.
On if a potential Spezza return would be geared towards the short or long term:
As I said I can't get the same talent back. There's nobody that we're talking about that's in the same range of player. You hope that you get a real good player and something for the future.
You can see Bryan Murray's full scrum courtesy of Sens TV.
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