The Stars formally introduced Jason Spezza on Monday, and while he remains under contract for only one more season, the 31-year-old center said he focused in on Dallas as a preferred destination because he believes they're a team on the rise.
It was reported that Spezza rejected a deal that would have sent him to Nashville, and while he didn't come right out and admit it, he acknowledged that he did his best to steer things in a more southerly direction, and for a specific reason.
“This didn't just happen by chance,” he said, as per the Dallas News. “While I certainly couldn’t pick the team or make the trade, I had enough power to steer things in the right direction. I want to be here, I like it here, it’s the kind of team I wanted to go to, a team that has a bright future.”
General manager Jim Nill added the presence of Spezza in the lineup only serves to strengthen his team's chances in an ultra-competitive Western Conference.
“Having Tyler Seguin and Jason Spezza out there as your two centermen, when we go on the road, other teams are going to have a tough time matching up against us,” Nill said.
“We have lots of options there, so this is definitely a statement that we’re making a move, we’re here, and we’re looking forward to the season starting.”
Some have accused Spezza of running from the pressure that comes with playing for a Canadian team and accepting a lesser role as a No. 2 center, but he sees things differently. Spezza believes he's taken a harder road, albeit decidedly lower in the eyes of Senators fans.
“Honestly, the easiest thing to do would have been to stay there, go unrestricted and move on that way,” Spezza said.
“But I knew in studying the trade market that whoever was going to get me had to be serious about winning. They had to pay a certain price and they had to be confident in where they were going, and that’s exactly what they have in Dallas. I wanted to come here, because I think I’ll have the opportunity to win.”
Spezza and the Stars will have their work cut out for them, but either way, they should be fun to watch.