On the Dallas Stars …
Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News: The soon to be 35-year old Jason Spezza is entering the final year of his deal that carries a $7.5 million salary cap hit, and he’s coming off his worst NHL season.
Options are to bring him back, buy him out at $2.5 million per season, or try to trade him and having to retain salary.
“I want to sit down with Jason and see where he is at. I need to talk to the coaching staff and see where they are at with him,” Nill said Monday. “He’s got one year left, he’s still a pretty good player. Is he a good fit for or is that something we need to change? I need to evaluate that.”
Spezza saw his ice-time drop down to 13 minutes a game, but he believes he can still play at a high level. He was getting the chances, but just wasn’t converting.
“If they’re not getting chances, then career-wise you’re worried,” Hitchcock said. “But when you’re in the top third of scoring chances you create, you’re doing something right.”
On the Buffalo Sabres and Chad Johnson …
Bill Hoppe of Buffalo Hockey Beat: Chad Johnson said if he had known that Sabres would have struggled as much as this did this season, he would have signed somewhere else.
“I wouldn’t have put my career in a situation like that after having a lot of success and doing well,” Johnson said Monday”
Johnson signed a one-year, $2.5 million contract last offseason, and says he takes “full responsibility” for signing with the team. On paper they were there, but “it just didn’t come together.”
Linus Ullmark is expected to replace Robin Lehner as the Sabres starter and they’ll be in the market for a veteran backup. The Sabres might be interested in bringing Johnson back, but does he want to come back?
“I’d have to see the change, whether it’s through players or somehow convince me through contracts, through whatever it is, to come back, then I would. Because I do believe that the organization wants to win.”