Trade Candidate: Jason Spezza

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Center Jason Spezza had an awful season offensively for the Dallas Stars.

 

I was looking at the stats of notable centers around the league recently. I confess that sometimes I create teams with the armchair GM tool on Cap Friendly  It’s fun to play like I’m Doug Armstrong and pull off trades for impact forwards.

I came across Jason Spezza’s numbers for the 2017-18 season. Wow.

He scored 8 goals. And 26 total points. Those were his lowest goal and point totals over a full season, since……ever. Talk about a drop off a cliff.

I did a little digging into his season. The first thing that struck me is that he (and the whole team) played for Ken Hitchcock, who Blues fans know quite well. His systems suppress offense, as they stress goal prevention over puck movement. Also, Spezza’s shooting percentage was way down, by almost half over the previous season. Apparently he’s become a pass-first center.

He’s no longer required to play like a number one center. Because of that fact, and his production decline, may lead the Stars to place him on the trading block.

One other factor may push them firmly to that course of action: the acquisition of John Tavares.

The Stars are one of the teams in the mix for his services. If they are able to sign him, that would STACK the Stars up the middle. They would have Tavares, Seguin, and Hanzal on lines 1-3, without counting Spezza. And more importantly, clearing Spezza’s north-of-$7-million cap hit would be perhaps necessary to fit Tavares’ expected salary.

So would the Blues be interested in trading for his services? If the Stars make him available, why wouldn’t the Blues be at least interested enough to hop on a phone call? They have the cap space to fit him in. Spezza has one year left on his contract. If the Blues can’t complete a trade for Ryan O’Reilly, a gamble on Spezza’s return to a semblance of his scoring self might be worth it.

The cost to get him would not, I don’t think, be prohibitive. No longer a key piece for the Stars, and being a salary dump of sorts, Spezza won’t command the price of a top prospect/draft pick.

I’m intrigued by the possibility. And I have to think that Spezza would welcome the chance to play 2nd-line minutes.

It would be a completion of the circle, in a way. I was really hoping the Blues would acquire him from the Senators before the Stars got him.

 

 

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