It seems that the Jason Spezza era in Ottawa is on the verge of coming to an end.
Senators general manager Bryan Murray confirmed on Wednesday at the general managers meetings that Spezza, after spending 11 years with the team, has requested that the Senators give him an opportunity play elsewhere.
Spezza's name has been mentioned in trade rumors before, but this is the first time the team has confirmed that he wants out. Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun reported that Spezza asked for a trade because he is blamed too often when the team loses.
Murray told me Spezza wants out because he's blamed too often when the club doesn't win. #Sens— Bruce Garrioch (@SunGarrioch) June 11, 2014
Even though Spezza will be 31 at the start of the 2014-15 season, he remains a productive player and is coming off a 23-goal, 43-assist season in 75 games for the Senators.
The issue Ottawa is going to have, if it intends to follow through with Spezza's request for a move, is finding a suitable return for a player of his ability. Teams now know that he wants out, which doesn't exactly help Murray deal from a position of strength, and Spezza only has one more year remaining on a contract that pays him $7 million per season.
Murray told Garrioch that four or five teams have shown interest.
The Senators originally drafted Spezza with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2001 draft. They received the pick, along with defenseman Zdeno Chara, in the trade that sent Alexei Yashin to the New York Islanders. In 686 games with the Senators, Spezza has scored 251 goals to go with 436 assists.