The Jason Spezza Trade Is Complete, How Did The Ottawa Senators Do?


It’s been a year since Jason Spezza left the only NHL organization he had ever known. The Ottawa Senators have completed the deal which ended up netting them 4 big forwards.

Nothing but big-bodied forwards were moved in the deal. The Stars took Jason Spezza, a 6foot3 center and NHL star as well as contract-dump Ludwig Karlsson, a 6foot4 forward signed out of college.

On the Senators side of things, the trade really displayed Bryan Murray’s love for big forwards. Initially he opted for players Alex Chiasson (6’4″), Nick Paul (6’4″) and Alex Guptill (6’2″). All three played at different levels this season (NHL, AHL, OHL) and with varying degrees of success. The final piece in the trade, a 2015 2nd round pick was used yesterday and when packaged with a 3rd round pick in 2016 was used to take another big forward—the biggest of the bunch, Gabriel Gagné.

The choice to pass on a few players wasn’t a popular one, but the Senators assessed Gagné as a legitimate target and felt the need to trade up for his services. He’s huge, and at 6’5″ he’s rather lanky. He’s got time to fill out his frame and should spend the next few years in the QMJHL, eventually moving to the AHL.

How Did The Senators Do? 

To say the Senators were handcuffed on this one would be an understatement. Bryan Murray was backed into a move with a player who had a very favourable no trade clause on his contract. Jason Spezza had a list of ten teams he would not accept a move to, which made things interesting,

Add in the idea of not trading within the division, or even the conference as well as finding a trade partner willing to accept Spezza’s 7 million dollar salary, and the move wasn’t easy.

That said, Spezza still held some incredible value and was still a 60-70 point a year player. The Senators were going to get a good piece or two for Spezza. Bryan Murray ended up getting 4.

Alex Chiasson had a high ceiling and seemed like a good, young player. He didn’t have a good first year in Ottawa, in fact, he had a terrible one. His big, lanky frame holds tons of potential, but it’s the lack of speed and drive that had many frustrated with Chiasson.

The player who looked like the 2nd piece in the deal, and the 2nd closest to the NHL was Alex Guptill. Unfortunately, off ice problems and a lack of motivation on the ice led to a horrible first year in Binghamton. The Senators will bring him back, but he’s no longer a legitimate prospect in the organization.

Nick Paul is that legitimate prospect. At this point, he and Gagné (who could project much like Alex Chiasson) are the only two who have a chance to shift this deal in Ottawa’s favour. Paul especially as a world junior and OHL star. He’s a reliable defensive player and won’t ever put up points like Jason Spezza, but could, realistically be a 2nd/3rd line center who puts up 30 – 45 points in a given season.


The trade didn’t give Ottawa that immediate impact piece. Luckily, with smart drafting and developing, the Senators were able to live through the move of Jason Spezza and even make the playoffs without him. Bryan Murray certainly gets a passing grade for the Spezza trade, given the position he was put in and given how he was able to get 4 pieces back; two of which have still yet to close in on their long-term potential.

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