Mar 24, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Jason Spezza Good Fit For The St. Louis Blues

The St. Louis Blues have been quiet this off-season but speculation has begun on how they might look to fix their offensive problems. Rumor has it veteran centerman and Ottawa Senators captain Jason Spezza is on their radar. Would the 31 year-old Jason Spezza be a good fit with the Blues?

On paper, Jason Spezza appears to be the kind of player the Blues are looking for. He’s 6’3″, 216 pounds, and when healthy is good for 20-30+ goals a year. The 2013-14 campaign saw him net 66 points in 75 games after missing most of the lockout shortened 2012-13 season with an injury.  Interestingly enough, the Blues are reportedly “high” on Spezza’s list of teams he’d be willing to waive his No Trade Clause to be traded to.

Would he be worth giving up multiple players and a 1st round draft pick? That’s probably what it would cost Doug Armstrong to bring the Mississauga, Ontario native to St. Louis. The Blues could likely afford the $7 million cap hit Spezza would bring along but despite his size, Spezza isn’t known for being a very physical player. Would he fit in Coach Hitchcock’s scheme?

Spezza has one year remaining on his contract with Ottawa. The Senators captain was a minus-26 this season and while +/- isn’t the greatest indicator of a player’s worth, it would lead me to believe his defensive game was a bit lacking. It also might mean he simply didn’t have the support he might find in St. Louis, with an arguably, significantly better defensive team around him. St. Louis has been described, since their early playoff exit, as being desperate for scoring and they also seem to have some pieces worth dealing to find the goals they missed this season. 25 year-old Patrik Berglund might figure to be part of a Spezza deal, his youth and “potential” possibly appealing to the Sens, despite being an underachiever for the Blues.

Armstrong also has nine picks in this year’s NHL Draft. While he’d almost certainly have to give up his 1st round pick in any deal for Spezza, the Blues would still have two in the 2nd, and at least one in every round from 3rd to 7th. St. Louis also has a number of prospects coming up through the ranks that Ottawa may be interested in, and Hitch isn’t going to have room for all of them.

Question and Answer on Jason Spezza

Jared Crozier from SenShot.com answered some of these questions for us, giving a view of Jason Spezza from Ottawa’s point-of-view in light of the current rumors:

 

BB: What has Jason Spezza meant to the Sens as Captain?

JC: Spezza had a trying year with big shoes to fill.  The fan base is so divided with him that he was never really going to get full support.  

BB: If he’s being shopped, what do you think the Sens are looking for in return? 

JC: His contract, at least for the one year he is signed for, is very friendly to a team that has lots of cap space but not much budget.  A high draft pick, a solid prospect as well as a roster player (someone who could play in the top 6 forwards) would be the price.  I don’t think, unless it is a really top end player, that the asking price would drop below that.  

BB: What would it take from the Blues specifically?

JC: I am not sure what the Blues have to include in the deal.  Ottawa wants to get back into the first round this summer, so the Blues’ pick would probably have to be in play.  A guy like Patrick Berglund might also peak the Senators interest.   BB: Is [Spezza's] best hockey behind him/what can he bring to a new team? JC: Spezza is going to give you offense at a level at or near a point per game and can mesh with other offensive players.  I think his days of being able to carry a guy like he did Danny Heatley are behind him because of the toll it takes on his wonky back. But he showed that with a complementary player like Ales Hensley that he can still put up numbers.  

Huge thanks to Jared, and be sure to follow him and all Senators news over at SenShot.com.

Since Jason Spezza has made public his desire to be dealt out of Ottawa, it’s possible his price has dropped, maybe even eliminating the need to give up a 1st Round draft pick. The Blues have 2nd Round picks they could conceivably part with, and prospect Ty Rattie has been mentioned in further rumors as the last piece of a package Ottawa would ask for. It’s also know that the Sens are looking for a Defenseman. Could Roman Polak, Jordan Leopold, or Ian Cole fit that bill? Teams like Anaheim also have defensive depth and would love to have a play-making veteran centerman, as Bob Mackenzie mentioned this morning on Twitter:  

Only time will tell if the Blues are truly players in the Free Agent market, but I would expect deals to start being made around the NHL prior to the June 27th start of the 2014 Draft.

Long Live the Note!

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Tags: NHL Trade Rumors Patrik Berglund Roman Polak St. Louis Blues Ty Rattie

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