Veteran shops for new home

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:58 AM ET

Curtis Leschyshyn has put his house in Stittsville up for sale and is now officially looking for a new home in the NHL.

The unrestricted free agent was told by Senators GM John Muckler earlier this week that the club has decided to go in a different direction and he won't be back.

The news isn't a huge surprise to Leschyshyn, who will turn 36 next month, but the defenceman spent parts of the last four seasons with the Senators and wanted to be part of a Stanley Cup champion here.

"I'm not upset, but it would be fair to say I'm a little disappointed," said Leschyshyn, one of the club's assistant captains. "I really wanted to come back and be part of that because that's a pretty exciting place to be.

"I completely understand. (His agent Rick Curran) spoke with John Muckler and he said they'd love to have me back, but they feel like they want to go with younger guys. I know how that works and I know where they are coming from. They want the younger guys to play and that means there is no room for me."

Leschyshyn didn't play last season, but stayed in excellent shape throughout the lockout. As well as skating with the likes of Joe Sakic and Ken Klee in Colorado, he has been taking part in a bike circuit.

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Leschyshyn even won the Colorado state cycling championship for his class and was the subject of a recent article in Sports Illustrated.

"I feel great and I'm in good shape," said Leschyshyn, who has an off-season home outside Denver. "I just went back to skating and I feel great."

Prior to the lockout, he wasn't convinced he'd be able to return to the NHL after a year off, but now he's anxious to be back in action.

"I'm not ready to retire," he said. "I want to keep playing and I feel like I can contribute."

It's believed Phoenix, Boston, the Islanders, Pittsburgh and Florida have all shown interest in Leschyshyn, who would bring a solid veteran presence to any team.

"I'm not going into any place thinking I have to be a No. 1 defenceman. I know my role and I'm quite willing to do whatever they want me to do," he said.

SPEZZA UPDATE: There's talk Senators C Jason Spezza may accept his qualifying offer of $901,740 US next week and then negotiate a long-term deal down the road.


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