Spezza and Karlsson playing Rock, Paper, Scissors to see who has to tell Robin Lehner his car got towed. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

Why the Ottawa Senators Should Trade Jason Spezza- the Sooner, the Better

Put away the pitchforks, lads and lasses. I know what you’re all thinking right now – trade away the guy that got named Captain less than 2 months ago? Crazy talk. Think about it for a second though. Is it really that crazy?


Jason Spezza is currently 30 years old, and he’s not getting any younger. His current contract, with a cap hit of $7M, expires after next year. The Ottawa Senators have Kyle Turris (24 years old,  5 years, $3.5M/year), Mika Zibanejad (20 years old, 2 years, $895K/year), Jean-Gabriel Pageau (20 years old, 2 years, $613K/year) and Zack Smith (25, 4 years, $1.9M/year) all locked up, on inexpensive deals. Last year, Turris proved capable of handling, if not excelling at, first line minutes. This year, he has flourished in a 1B role, playing with Clarke MacArthur and now Bobby Ryan. The outcries for Zibanejad to be playing with the NHL club have been deafening, with most of the fan base believing him to be a better option than someone who doesn’t even play the same position than him. Pageau has cooled off significantly after an impressive showing in a small sample size last year (Note: This can in no way be attributed to centering a line with the two best snipers on the team in Erik Condra and Matt Kassian), but with better linemates, he should be able to show off the creativeness that won the hearts of many in Ottawa. Smith doesn’t give a crap, but when played in a checking role on the fourth line, he can wear down opposing teams, and even shut down top lines now and again. If you keep Turris with his current linemates, and line up Zibanejad in the 2C role with Michalek and Conacher, this team could still function as well, or as poorly, as it currently is.

So, depth is not an issue. Now, let’s take a look at who could use Spezza, and what the Senators could likely get out of a trade for their Captain. Most teams not named the Pittsburgh Penguins could use an elite 1C to round out their lineups. For the sake of argument, let’s eliminate all Flortheast division teams, as well as teams that wouldn’t give up enough/don’t need to upgrade their Center position - eliminating teams like the New York Islanders (John Tavares) and Philadelphia Flyers (Salary Cap). Teams I think who would make ideal partners would be the Calgary Flames, Columbus Blue Jackets, Nashville Predators, and the Winnipeg Jets. None of these 4 have a top-flight 1C, and they’ve all got the cap room to afford Spezza’s raise. So, who should the Senators look to target?

Calgary: If I’m Bryan Murray, I’d look to snag either a first round pick, or two second rounders, along with a defenseman like Mark Giordano, or T.J. Brodie if they can steal him. Spezza would immediately line up as their first line center, between Mike Cammalleri and David Jones, bumping Matt Stajan down, potentially behind rookie Sean Monahan.

Columbus: Getting Marian Gaborik (1 year, $7.5M) would help both teams, as the Senators could sign Gabby to a 3 or 4 year deal and move on from Milan Michalek. The Blue Jackets could then move Nathan Horton to the top line, creating a first line of R.J. Umberger/Spezza/Horton. Other options include Umberger (4 years at $4.6M, unlikely the Jackets move him) or Ryan Murray (OK, this one might be a dream of mine).

Nashville: Spezza would get to team up with Mike Fisher again, while the Senators would likely try to improve their defence by acquiring someone like Roman Josi (6’2, 200 lbs and he shoots left) or Ryan Ellis. They might also look at Filip Forsberg, if he’s available.

Winnipeg: The prize here would be Evander Kane, but if the Jets are trading for Spezza, they’d likely be envisioning a Kane/Spezza top line. Instead, if Ottawa could pry Dustin Byfuglien, Tobias Enstrom or Jacob Trouba, as well as a mid round pick, I think they come out on top.

I’d preferably like to go after one of Winnipeg’s defensemen, given their age and offensive prowess, and that they’d be the most likely trading partners. What do you think? Could Ottawa get a better deal out their? Should they even be looking to move Captain Giggles?



Tags: Calgary Flames Jason Spezza Kyle Turris Mika Zibanejad Ottawa Senators Trades Winnipeg Jets

  • Jared Crozier

    #1 centres are hard to come by, and I don’t think Turris has that ability over the long term. Zibanejad might get there eventually, but not in the near future. You don’t win without strength up the middle. I think it would be a mistake.

    • Brianmichille Dablo Cabaltera-

      I like this thread and I’m going to toss in another thought. Since being called back up, ZIbanejad has played very well, Spezza has been inconsistent, Turris has played well also. I can honestly say that I get more optimistic for offence when Zibanejad has the puck then when Spezza or Turris has it. I’m more open to the trading of Spezza today then I was 16 days ago when I first replied to this thread.

  • Derek Lee

    Good first piece Alex, I’m actually going to side with you on this one. I am a fan of selling high on Sezza and getting a younger player in return. I especially like the Winnipeg deal if it means Evander Kane comes our way, or Byfuglien. Imagine big Dustin Byfuglien paired with EK. Great PP combo. I do beleive Kyle Turris looks better than Spezza at this point and I, like everyone want Mika called up. Good piece man

  • That guy

    This is the dumbest thing i have ever read, you can’t replace an elite 1C easily and turris, zibanejad or pageau, no matter how much we can dream, will never be better than spezza. I don’t think Spezza will ask for the world in terms of money either and might take a hometown discount. Turris could handle first line minutes and competition, but not excel and score enough because lets remember he went over 20 games without scoring a goal last year.

  • Brianmichille Dablo Cabaltera-

    You start off with your foot in a hole with the, “is currently 30 years old, and he’s not getting any younger” comment. No one is getting any younger, except for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

    Spezza probably has 8-12 years left in the NHL, and the idea of selling high, well, sell Zibanejad, his value is pretty high right now, as a first round pick who played well last year and is playing well again this year, despite his demotion. What about Turris? Your arguments are designed to fit your premise, but they work for any of the top three centers. Each would return a different commodity, but that’s because they all have different values, to Ottawa as well. Would you play Spezza 2nd or 3rd line? Of course not, he’s better than that, and worth more because of it. Would Ottawa be better up the middle without Spezza? No. Without Turris? No. Without Zibanejad? No. This last point is why people are clamoring for Zibanejad’s return.

    Trade one asset for another asset, common practice. You have a list of four teams that don’t have a Bona Fide #1 center, Calgary Flames, Columbus Blue Jackets, Nashville Predators, and the Winnipeg Jets. If Spezza is traded to one of those teams, you could add Ottawa to the list.

    • Murray_is_a_GENIUS

      8 years with his health issues? I wish!

  • Murray_is_a_GENIUS

    It’s a good idea and one that has been discussed on Silver Seven as well in the day. SPezza’s health is the biggest issue. He is ALWAYS injured or about to be injured. This year it was the groin, last year his back. As he gets older and takes more and more punishment, it’s unlikely he’ll be in the thick of health.
    It’s also a big question whether or not Spezza can lead you to the Cup. He’s aces offensively but all too often slow to grab his man defensively or just to head back to his own end. His line gives a tremendous amount of opportunities to the other offensive lines as well. If he hasn’t bought in by age 30…when will he?

  • PDR79

    This is probably what the ‘Trade Steve Yzerman’ blog would have looked like the year he was rumoured to be traded to Ottawa. And by that, I mean its a really bad idea. Spezza is simply not a guy you trade unless someone is willing to overpay. Based on your suggested return, that is certainly not the case.

    Sens depth at C is decent, but no one would consider it elite at this point. Not even close to a sure-thing that would lead me to make this move.

  • Alex Swift

    Alright, let’s discuss all these arguments at once. First, however, thanks for the welcome Derek. Glad to see I’m not the only one on this side.

    I agree, you can’t win without strength up the middle. I believe the Turris we’re seeing this year is much better than the one we saw unable to completely fill the needs of the team’s 1C. I don’t believe he’s an elite #1 center, but I do believe he has the ability to be an above average first liner, especially with the chemistry he’s developed with his wingers. I also believe Mika could excel in the second line center position, playing with Milo and Conacher. I believe those wingers give him players he can look to at all times if he gets in danger. He’ll be able to take chances, and still move the puck if it doesn’t work out. I also don’t agree that the sell high can be applied as much to Turris and Zibanejad, simply because I think they can still get better. Spezza has 8-12 years, I’ll agree. But I’d say he has 2-3 more years of being an elite 1C, and from then on he’ll play more like a 2C. But, on this team, that means Zibanejad would have to switch to wing. Not to mention Spezza is in for a raise, likely coming in a between $8.5M and $9M a year. That’s far too expensive for his value to the team, and I highly doubt the Euge would sign him at that. Especially since Bobby Ryan and Robin Lehner, among others, will be due for raises.

  • Derek Lee

    This is certainly a topic that’s going to spark a lot of debate, after all he was just made captain. Truth is I think people are getting caught seeing Spezza for what he was and not what he is now. The simple fact that Mac has elected to play his top sniper (Bobby Ryan) with Turris over Spezza is saying a lot. You play your top finisher with the guy who can help him finish the best…that wasn’t Spezza. You can rant about it being a lack of chemistry or what have you but its clear our best line has been player #7′s thus far. If Murray can swing a trade that involves both MM9 and Spezz and returns a player like E.Kane, I’m not going to be disappointed.