Ottawa Senators manager Bryan Murray is upset because media reports have identified captain Jason Spezza as a potential trade target, which he fears will be picked up as a news story by other outlets.
Ottawa Senators captain Jason Spezza is reportedly being quietly shopped to other teams, according to a report from David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period on Monday afternoon. Pagnotta writes that a deal isn't imminent, but the club is gauging interest on the 30-year-old forward and would be willing to move him if the right deal manifested. Spezza has one-year remaining on his contract beyond this season and has a no-trade clause.
Darren Dreger of TSN confirmed the report and tweeted that the Senators are quietly exploring the market, while noting the difficulty of executing such a trade:
@TheFourthPeriod. Was told this morning the Sens are "quietly" exploring interest. Tough trade to make, but worth investigating.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) March 3, 2014
Murray addressed the reports later on Monday, stating that they were false. In addition, the manager expressed frustration over the buzz generated and stated he began receiving calls and texts from rival managers to see if the report was true, via the Ottawa Sun:
"The thing that really bothers me, I've got all kinds of calls on that now, and texts on that now, is some guy that I don't know has put it out on twitter that we're shopping Jason Spezza. Every media guy grabs that and goes with that," said Murray before the club left Vancouver.
"I had one guy ask if I want to comment to quiet the rumours and I said, ‘No.' I'm not going to ... The more I say about it the more it's "going to be played over and over in the next couple of days. I'll just say: We have not talked, at this point in time, about Jason Spezza."
At "this point in time," you say Bryan?
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But in all seriousness, the job of a manager is to evaluate players, which includes value to the team both as an on-ice contributor and as a movable asset. Murray is trusted to gauge potential and the only way to do that is to determine how best a player can serve the club.
As Pagnotta writes, Spezza could be made available for the right deal, which could be said for any player that has ever played in any professional sport. Wayne Gretzky was traded multiple times for crying out loud. Murray's valuation of Spezza might be so high that no manager would ever accept the terms. Just because they're reportedly talking doesn't mean anything will ever happen; it just means they're reportedly talking.
Of course the presence of smoke, usually means fire. So while a Spezza trade might not be in the works "at this point in time," it doesn't mean it will always stay that way.