The rumours about Ottawa Senators’ captain Jason Spezza getting traded aren’t new, but they’re heating up again, and that’s a good thing for both parties.
His name came up at the deadline, but without the right move available, the Sens hung on to their second-highest scorer in franchise history. At his exit meeting, Spezza let the team know that he would “look favorably” on a move, and with a list of 10 teams submitted, it doesn’t seem too far off happening.
Here’s how both parties win if this plays out.
Spezza is at the point in his career where he’s coming up on his second monster payday, and obviously wants to maximize that. That’s going to be tough to do, given that he’s been in gradual statistical decline and getting older.
One of the problems for Spezza is that, as he starts slowing down production-wise, his name is still as big as ever. In Ottawa, he’s undeniably “The Guy” among the forwards, which means he’s keyed on when other teams face the Sens. Opponents are more aware of him and know to make his life as difficult as possible. That’s just the way the world is for players in the role of The Guy.
The trade rumors have Spezza going to Anaheim as destination numero uno which would mean he’d get to shake that label, as Ducks already carry Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry.
If Anaheim were the destination, he could find himself racking up powerplay points while facing weaker competition at even strength, with the Getzlaf line facing the best D-pairings each night.
Being in a role where he could be a “secondary” scoring option probably also pulls his ice time down a minute or two, which would allow him to be a bit more fresh and a bit more effective.
The Ducks have some other quality depth scoring options, which means he’d still have skill to work with. He’d get to drop the pressure that comes with being the captain of an NHL team in Canada. He’d get to live in Anaheim.
It’s not hard to see how it could go well for him.
The Ducks are about to lose some of their depth offense as Teemu Selanne hangs up the skates, and the near 40-year-old Saku Koivu enters free agency. The salary cap is going up as well, so they’ll certainly have the room to spend. And while Spezza’s cap hit is $7 million, they would only have to pay him four thanks to the tail on his salary (He took eight million per year early, with just four in the last year to bring the cap hit down) that was common under the old collective bargaining agreement. That has to be fairly appealing.
The Ducks have a few young players that are almost ready to take the next step in Jakob Silfverberg, Hampus Lindholm and Cam Fowler, and they were just a step away from a President’s Trophy this season (and obviously are still alive in the second round of the playoffs). This is a team that’s “close,” and when you’re there in the NHL, you’ve got to do whatever you can to help your group over the hump. Their time is now.
Spezza could use a fresh start in a new place, the Sens would be wise to turn a depreciating asset into talent before it’s too late, and the Ducks could use the extra offensive booth. It makes a lot of sense to make this happen.