I started this series of “Destination Jason Spezza” articles on Sunday night, when at that time the Spezza rumors would not quiet, with the first possible landing spot being the Buffalo Sabres. . Now, hours after a non-commital stance by Eugene Melnyk has lent more credence to the speculation that Spezza might have played his last game as a Senator, I will continue in earnest to speculate where he might end up.
As I said before, with a $4M salary on a $7M cap hit, his contract would be a fantastic addition to a team that has a budget and/or needs to get over that cap floor.
This leads me to my next guess, the Nashville Predators.
WHY IT WOULD WORK
- Nashville hasn’t had a legitimate #1 center on its roster since, well, maybe ever. They had Jason Arnott at the tail end of his career, a couple of months of Peter Forsberg, but not much else beyond that.
- The Predators just fired the only coach they have ever had, and that could usher in a new philosophy and adding a dynamic offensive player like Spezza could regenerate interest.
- The Predators’ first round pick this season isn’t high enough (assuming they don’t win the draft lottery) that it would not be moveable in a package for Spezza.
- Nashville is out of the conference and the Senators would only have to face Spezza a couple of times, that is until he signs in Toronto after next year.
WHY IT WOULDN’T WORK
- Spezza has a no-trade clause, and those don’t usually get waived to move to Nashville, even if a friendship with Mike Fisher was a bit of a draw.
- The likelihood of Spezza re-signing in Nashville would appear minimal, although they would have money and cap space to use.
The Senators would obviously be angling for the Preds first round pick in this upcoming draft. It would be a top 10 pick, but they would also need to get something else back, perhaps a prospect like former OHL standout Austin Watson might be added to the mix. Filip Forsberg would be nice, but not very likely.
Nashville would be a good fit on-ice wise for Spezza and they have the space to get it done. However, Nashville doesn’t have a history of high octane offense, and Spezza might not fit the mold. That could change with whatever new regime takes over. The biggest caveat is the no-trade and Spezza’s willingness to leave, and to a Western Conference team. .