After six and a half seasons as the favourite whipping boy of the nation's capital, it seems inevitable that Jason Spezza and the Ottawa Senators are ready to part ways with one another. Spezza said he wouldn't object to a move and, if the Sens can find a suitable dance partner, then the Spezza era will come to an end sometime soon.
All I have to say is be careful what you wish for, Ottawa.
Sure Spezza has been a defensive liability. Sure he turns the puck over too much and sure he laughs too much in interviews. But the fact of the matter is, Spezza's skill set is a rare breed in this league. While everyone loves to bash the 27-year-old, there are a number of teams that would kill for his offensive skill set. Spezza has had seasons where he's posted 92, 90 and 87 points. Sure his numbers have dipped over the last two seasons but he was still close to a point-a-game player.
Can someone tell me how many players in the NHL besides Spezza have posted 90 or more points in a season that are 27 or younger? I'll tell you: Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Ryan Getzlaf, Ilya Kovalchuk, Zach Parise and Steven Stamkos. How's that for elite company?
Another big thing to consider as everyone wants to give him the boot out of town is that he enjoyed playing in Ottawa for the most part. Despite being an easy target, he liked being a Senator - something you can't say the same about with other star players aside from captain Daniel Alfredsson. Dany Heatley, Zdeno Chara, and Alexei Yashin all preferred to play elsewhere. Sure it's now being reported that he "wouldn't object" to a trade, but how many times can one guy be told by fans and media how crappy he is before saying 'uncle'?
Some feel that Spezza will be gone this draft weekend and that may be so. But just don't complain about not getting a star of equal value in return or shake your head if Spezza winds up with a 100-point campaign somewhere down the road.
The grass isn't always greener.