Jason Spezza traded by Senators to Stars
Ottawa also re-signs Milan Michalek, Stars add Hemsky, Lindback
Jason Spezza and Ales Hemsky are going to find out if what they started in Ottawa can lead to something special in Dallas.
Briefly teammates with the Senators last season, both forwards were acquired by the Stars on Tuesday — Spezza in a trade just before free agency opened and Hemsky on a three-year contract after deals could be done.
Spezza, who agreed to the Dallas deal a few days after using his no-trade clause to turn down a proposal from Nashville, was on a teleconference when one of the reporters told him Hemsky might be joining him again.
"I'm thrilled because we had great chemistry at the end of the year," said Spezza, who will become a free agent next year unless he signs an extension with Dallas. "So it's nice to hear. We got to know each other pretty well pretty quickly."
The 31-year-old Spezza had some control of his own destiny, with a limited no-trade clause that included 10 teams he wouldn't go to. That list included the Nashville Predators, to which he reportedly nixed a move last week.
"I think it was best for me to move on, and I think [general manager] Bryan [Murray] felt it could help the team to help me move on, too," Spezza said on a conference call Tuesday afternoon. "It was a decision I felt that was tough, but it's a decision that had to help myself and just move forward."
Spezza, who replaced Daniel Alfredsson as the Senators' captain last season, has one year remaining on his current contract.
By trading Spezza, the Senators get his $7-million US cap hit off their books, taking back only $900,000 for Chiasson. Spezza's actual-dollars salary for 2014-15 is $4 million, which is important for the budget-conscious Stars.
Spezza has spent his entire NHL career in Ottawa after being drafted by the club second overall in 2001. Injuries have long dogged the Mississauga, Ont., native, as he has played 80 or more games just twice in his 11-year career.
But when healthy he can be one of the most dynamic playmakers in the league. In 686 career games, the six-foot-three centre has 251 goals and 687 points. He has been a fixture in Ottawa's top-six forwards over the years and has helped the club win four division titles and a Presidents' Trophy in 2006.
Murray had a deal with the Predators during the draft last weekend, but Spezza held out for a trade that will make him and 22-year-old Tyler Seguin the top two centres on a team that includes high-scoring winger Jamie Benn.
He's also reunited with Stars coach Lindy Ruff, who has coached him on Canadian national teams.
"It wasn't so much a 'no' to the teams," said Spezza, who was Ottawa's top-scoring forward with 23 goals and 43 assists last season and has 687 points, including 251 goals, in 686 career games. "I think the young group they have is an envy of a lot of the league, and I think I could fit in with helping out with depth at centre."
And maybe Hemsky will be a linemate again. The 30-year-old spent his first 10 seasons with Edmonton before a midseason trade to the Senators in March. The Czech winger has 146 goals and 348 assists in 672 games.
"I talked with Dallas even before Jason got traded, but I talk to Jason a lot last couple weeks," said Hemsky, whose deal is reportedly worth $12 million. "It wasn't a huge factor because they told me I could play with a lot of good players, but now it's even better that Jason got traded there."
Hemsky, 30, finished with 17 points in 20 games with the Senators.
The Stars also signed goalie Anders Lindback and forward Patrick Eaves to one-year contracts.
The 26-year-old Lindback appeared in 23 regular-season games and all four playoff games for Tampa Bay last season. Eaves had five points (two goals, three assists) in 30 games with Detroit and Nashville in 2013-14.
In Chiasson, the Senators get a 23-year-old forward with potential, but limited NHL experience. The Montreal native scored 13 goals and 22 assists in 79 games last year with Dallas, including six on the power play.
The six-foot-four, 187-pound forward was originally taken in the second round (38th overall) in 2009.
Guptill, 22, was a 2010 third-round pick of Dallas and spent the past three seasons at the University of Michigan before playing five games for the AHL's Texas Stars.
Paul, a 19-year-old left-winger, was a fourth-rounder in 2013 and played for the North Bay Battalion last season.
Karlsson, a six-foot-three defender, split last year between the AHL and ECHL.
With files from CBCSports.ca