The Nashville Predators landed their coveted “big-time” forward in James Neal but, to hear Sens GM Bryan Murray explain it, the Preds were in the mix to add a second impact guy up front as well.
Murray said Ottawa captain Jason Spezza shot down a potential move to Nashville, per ESPN. Spezza, who holds a no-trade clause, reportedly wouldn’t waive in order to join the Preds, nullifying a deal that “made sense” for Ottawa. (courtesy Pierre LeBrun.)
That Murray had a deal he actually liked is significant. He lamented the lack of quality offers for Spezza leading up to the draft, then saw the market for centers change dramatically when Vancouver sent Ryan Kesler to Anaheim prior to Friday’s opening round.
For Nashville, news of the Spezza offer is significant as well. It further cements the notion that GM David Poile is doing all he can to add offense, and isn’t being held back financially in the search for a skilled center. It’s quite possible the club will now turn its attention to the free agent market — *cough* Paul Stastny *cough* — or maybe look to trade elsewhere. There were rumblings of a deal to get Eric Staal out of Carolina and reunited with Peter Laviolette in Nashville, but The Tennessean and other outlets investigated those claims without finding anything concrete.
As for Poile potentially revisiting the Spezza deal..
“I’m not going to pitch somebody if they don’t want to play for us.” – David Poile on if he will try to convince Spezza to change his mind
— Аrpon Basu (@ArponBasu) June 28, 2014
As for Spezza…it’ll be interesting to see how public perception goes after this. He’s now been positioned — by his own GM — as the guy that prevented a trade from happening. Even though he’s well within his rights (that’s why players negotiate no-trade clauses), Senators fans could get further frustrated with a situation that’s already been lingering for a while.
One final wrinkle — and it’s definitely worth noting — the potential Spezza-to-Nashville deal was in the works prior to the Preds landing Neal.