The Jason Spezza trade saga has come to a close as the longtime Ottawa Senators star has been traded to the Dallas Stars as the centerpiece of a five-player trade. ESPN's Pierre LeBrun reported the deal was official:
Spezza trade call has been completed. Trade now official— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) July 1, 2014
Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun broke word of the deal Tuesday:
Jason Spezza has been dealt to the Dallas Stars pending a trade call. Involves substantial prospects and avails cash for other trades. #Sens— Bruce Garrioch (@SunGarrioch) July 1, 2014
Bob McKenzie of TSN provided further details:
DAL trades Alec Chiasson, Alex Guptill, Nicholas Paul and 2nd round pick in 2015 to OTT for Jason Spezza and Ludvig Karlsson. #TSN— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) July 1, 2014
Stars general manager Jim Nill spoke with Mark Stepenski of the Stars' official website about the deal:
Stars GM Jim Nill onn Jason Spezza: "Jason is one of the elite playmakers in the game and fits our identity perfectly.”— Mark Stepneski (@StarsInsideEdge) July 1, 2014
More Nill: “Depth at the center position is paramount for winning in this league & his skill set & experience really solidifies our group."— Mark Stepneski (@StarsInsideEdge) July 1, 2014
The Senators were in a tough spot because they were trying to move the veteran center despite having a lack of leverage. Spezza had a limited no-trade clause in his contract, which decreased the number of potential suitors to drive up the asking price.
A report from the Canadian Press (via CBC) included comments from general manager Bryan Murray, who said there was a deal with the Nashville Predators got nixed:
"David [Poile] talked to me and we couldn't go there," said Murray. "I told [Spezza's agent] Rick Curran that today, I had a deal sitting there if I wanted to do it, but he was on the list of no-go's.
Instead, the Senators settled for a solid, yet not outstanding, package from the Stars. Alex Chiasson is the most promising player of the group. The 23-year-old winger has 42 points, including 19 goals, in 86 games at the NHL level.
On the flip side, the Stars get the top-six center they have been looking for to pair with Tyler Seguin. Add in Cody Eakin and Dallas should be very strong up the middle in the short term. It will be a major advantage given the lack of productive depth at the position around the league.
Chris Johnston of Rogers Sportsnet also notes Spezza comes cheap based on what he's actually owed compared to the cap hit:
Jason Spezza carries a $7M cap hit but will only cost the #stars $4M in actual money next season. Cheaper than free agent options.— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) July 1, 2014
Which team do you think won the trade?
All told, it's hard to declare a clear winner in the deal given the surrounding circumstances. Dallas probably gets the better half of the trade on paper, but with Ottawa unable to create a true bidding war, it was still able to get reasonable value.
The acquisition of Spezza does make the Stars a bigger threat in the Western Conference next season. They earned a wild-card berth last season and pushed the Anaheim Ducks to six games before getting eliminated in the first round.
As for the Senators, they can move forward from what developed into a major headache and start focusing on other offseason moves with a fresh set of assets in the organization.