Spezza chemistry major

The Senators would like to keep Jason Spezza in Ottawa for a long time. (Sun Media File/Errol...

The Senators would like to keep Jason Spezza in Ottawa for a long time. (Sun Media File/Errol McGihon)

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:24 AM ET

Jason Spezza could be Dany Heatley's linemate for years to come.

The Senators centre said yesterday that his agent Rick Curran has held discussions with GM Bryan Murray and is hopeful the two sides will be able to work out a contract extension.

While Spezza isn't sure where the talks stand, it's believed Curran is seeking a long-term extension that's close to the six-year, $45-million (all terms US) deal that Heatley signed on the eve of the season.

HEATLEY-LIKE DEAL

Senators owner Eugene Melnyk and Murray are committed to keeping the team together. That might not be possible at any price, but a league executive predicted that Spezza would have to score between $7 million and $7.5 million a season from Ottawa to get a deal done.

Spezza, who has one goal and 12 assists in the first 10 games of the season, is confident a deal will be reached.

"The team wants to get something done. I want try to get something done. But, to be honest, it hasn't gotten to the point where (a contract) has come to me just yet," said Spezza.

Making $4.5 million in the final season of a two-year, $9-million deal, Spezza can become a restricted free agent with arbitration rights next July.

Being a restricted free agent, as the Oilers proved with big offers to Thomas Vanek and Dustin Penner last off-season, no longer appears to be a deterrent when teams are looking to strike a deal.

A source said there has to be concern that a team like the Maple Leafs wouldn't hesitate to inflict some pain on their provincial rival by making Spezza an outrageous Group II offer.

"The landscape has changed," said a league executive.

Spezza's isn't the only contract the club has to deal with. Defenceman Wade Redden, who will be a UFA and is making $6.5 million this season, has improved his play in the first month of the season and will be the most valuable blueliner on the market.

Centre Chris Kelly, who only signed a one-year, $1.6-million deal over the summer, is also a UFA and could be attractive to a number of teams.

REDDEN ON OUTS?

Many believe Redden will be the odd man out because the Senators haven't had any talks with his agent Don Meehan, but Murray has maintained he's going to try to keep all of the club's pending free agents.

Right now, however, Murray's priority is to get the Spezza deal done.

Spezza, 24, said he wants to remain with the Senators and Heatley, in particular. The duo talked last month about a way to make sure the club is able to keep both of them when Heatley signed his extension.

"We've played together for the last couple of years and it would be nice if we were able to get something done so that we're able to play together for a long time," said Spezza.


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