Spezza next in line, will Redden leave?

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 6:33 AM ET

Quick take on Dany Heatley's signing with the Senators:

1. Hello, Jason Spezza.

2. Goodbye, Wade Redden.

With the Heatley case resolved, the potential big distraction for the Senators this season has been removed by GM Bryan Murray.

Maybe Heatley wouldn't have talked about his situation if he hadn't been signed by last night's deadline, but that wouldn't have stopped everybody else with a pen or a microphone and their barber from doing so.

It's a good deal for the Senators, too: The only guy in the league right now with back-to-back 50-goal seasons for $7.5 million a season for the next six years.

What do you figure? That's about $500,000 or maybe a million a season less than he could have received on the open market next summer?

With Heatley in the fold, along with Daniel Alfredsson, Mike Fisher, Chris Phillips, Anton Volchenkov and the two goalies, Martin Gerber and Ray Emery -- all signed long-term -- the Senators have a great nucleus moving forward.

They have about $34 million in salary committed next year for about 11 players, not including Redden, who can become an unrestricted free agent next summer. (Maybe Murray finds a way to move a goalie for some more wiggle room, too).

At $6.5 million and coming off a mediocre season for him, Redden is clearly too pricey for the Senators.

Murray could take Redden's money and give it to Spezza, who could become a restricted free agent next summer.

Move Christoph Schubert back to the blue line full-time to form a 3-4 combo with Andrej Meszaros behind the shutdown duo of Phillips and Volchenkov.

That means the Senators need next year will be for a 5-6 guy on the blue line, considerably cheaper than having to get a front-line guy to replace Redden.

You have to think Spezza will want to stick around, as attractive as it would be to go back to his hometown of Toronto and really make it The Spezza Network.

30 WHEN DEAL EXPIRES

He could sign here for six years, be part of a good to great team, and still only be 30 when the deal expires. That's more the age the Leafs like their free agents anyway, isn't it?

Another positive in last night's signing, compared to, say, the deal Daniel Briere signed with the Philadelphia Flyers, is the Senators are getting Heatley in what are potentially his most productive years.

Briere is 29 and will be 37 in the last year of his deal.

Heatley is just 26, so they will have him until he is 33.

In my opinion, he's just starting to get near the summit of his talent, so the Senators are now pretty much assured of having Heatley right through his prime.

Heatley's signing will bring smiles to a bunch of faces.

Included in those with a grin could well by Marian Hossa of the Atlanta Thrashers. Heatley and Hossa were traded for each other in the summer of 2005 and now, with Heatley off the market, Hossa is by far the most attractive of the unrestricted free agents for next season.

That's another reason to get Spezza signed.

With the unrestricted pool kind of thin next summer, you don't think there will be some offer sheets for the restricted kids flying around?


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