Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Is Spezza on the block?

Since the Sens were kicked out quickly in the playoffs, there has been some rumblings that perhaps Jason Spezza isn't as valuable as was once thought, and some have suggested maybe he is disposable. Despite the fact that Bryan Murray quickly rejected rumours, citing his half of the 6-year commitment made to Spezza, they persist. Although I don't like to cite Hockeybuzz, mainly due to the fact that anonymous blogger Eklund has nothing to lose with his 'rumours', and that resident Senators' blogger Kevin Lee is... well, not so great to read, they do make interesting discussion, especially in the off-season. And today, Eklund brought up rumours about some teams with interest in Spezza:
According to another source the Hawks and Sharks have interest in Jason Spezza. No word yet on what either teams may put forth for Spezza. I am of the belief that Spezza is a diamond in the rough but needs a new start...
Not just Chicago and San Jose, I bet there are 29 teams in the NHL--especially Toronto--that have an interest in Spezza. The discussion of Spezza being on the block originates from three main concerns, most of which stem from the belief that he's failed to mature his game significantly since joining the NHL:
  1. Spezza is too soft, and unable to compete when he's pressed physically.
  2. Spezza gives the puck away with ill-timed, no-look passes.
  3. Spezza isn't consistent, and offsets his great plays with poor play, and can't step up when needed.
Whether or not you (or I) believe these are true, they seem to me as the biggest critiques of Spezza's game. Under the contract the Sens signed, Spezza has a no-trade clause that comes into play after the first two years of the contract. So, if the Sens decide to trade, him, it will have to be within the next two seasons.

The biggest thing about the above-noted problems, though, is that these are foibles that can be corrected with mental and/or physical training. The skills that he has, and has demonstrated, aren't so easy to teach or to learn. That is probably why his value remains so high despite the well-known knocks on his game, and his (so far) poor showing in the current World Championships; teams always believe they can reclaim a player with potential.

Let's have a discussion in the comments; who thinks Spezza is dispensable? Are you ready to give up on the Spezza Project? What is the minimum return? Who would we get in his place on the top line, especially with a couple of centres in Antoine Vermette and Chris Kelly both possibly leaving the team?
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