For the first time since his rookie season for the Ottawa Senators back in 2002-03, Jason Spezza will be a healthy scratch. The Dallas Stars pivot will sit out today’s game against the Boston Bruins.
The 34-year-old Spezza has just five goals and 16 points in 44 games, this following a 15 goal, 50 point campaign from just a season ago. The former 2nd overall pick from the 2001 NHL Entry Draft had a career high of 34 goals and 92 points back in 2007-08, but is now a shadow of his former self. Having said that, he was still a perennial 60+ point player up until last season. If he’s indeed having a drop off… it’s a steep one.
With today’s news, of course, come a dozen trade rumors. Could this signal a Spezza trade? What’s his value anyways? Stars head coach Ken Hitchcock has mostly used him in a fourth line role this season. Not too many teams are looking for a fourth line center at $7.5 million.
Still, there’s bound to be interest around the league for a former 30+ goal and 90+ point scorer, even in the twilight of his career. If Stars GM Jim Nill is willing to retain some salary, could we Spezza in a new uniform before the NHL’s February 26th trade deadline?
Interesting proposition. Spezza on a line between James van Riemsdyk and Mitch Marner would be a puck possession MONSTER, but it may not exactly translate into goals and wins for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Besides, if they’re going to add salary anywhere on the roster, it’s likely on defense.
How about the Montreal Canadiens? GM Marc Bergevin always seems to be assessing his center ice position, auditioning Jonathan Drouin and Alex Galchenyuk there at different points this season. Could Spezza be next in line to revive captain Max Pacioretty’s goal scoring touch?
Time will tell. But one thing’s clear: things aren’t working out for Spezza in Dallas, so a change may be needed.