Blues May Face Tough Competition for Spezza


Rumors have run rampant over the past few weeks that the St. Louis Blues are the favorite to acquire Ottawa Senators center Jason Spezza, who has reportedly asked for a trade and wants to go to a contending team in the United States. While Spezza has a limited no-trade clause that will somewhat limit what the Senators can do, it seems that there’s going to be plenty of competition for him based on recent reports:

If they really want to acquire Spezza, the Blues’ biggest concern is going to be making sure that a team with a higher first-round pick, such as Dallas, doesn’t push aggressively for him, because the Blues don’t have the organizational depth to compete with that kind of offer. With pick 21 in the first round, St. Louis would likely have to give up at least one established NHL player just to start talks for the veteran center.

Whoever gets Spezza should make sure they do their homework on him before investing in him, however. He shouldn’t be a big issue financially, as he’s going into the last season of a seven-year deal and will be paid $4 million (with a $7 million-dollar cap hit) in 2014-15. There seem to be concerns from respected NHL minds about the 31-year-old Spezza’s ability to stay on the ice, though. While he played in 75 games last year, a herniated disc in his back limited him to five regular season contests in the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, and that could be something that troubles him going forward.

While his 6-foot-3, 220-pound body is an asset all by itself, he could also stand to regain some of his scoring touch. Spezza had a very respectable 66 points last season, but that was a far cry from some of the very impressive 80 points-plus seasons he’d had on four previous occasions during the course of his 11-year career. He needs to make sure his defense is up to par as well, as he had a career-worst minus-26 plus-minus rating in 2013-14.

Spezza could be a big addition to the Blues, but they should thoroughly examine whether trading for him is better than going out and trying to sign a player like Paul Stastny before they pull the trigger on a move.