Jason Spezza has expressed his desire to return with the Toronto Maple Leafs next season and it makes too much sense not to get a deal done.
At the time, we explained how the deal was a worthwhile gamble for Kyle Dubas and company even though some thought the longtime veteran was on his last legs. It certainly did not help that former head coach Mike Babcock chose to make an example out of him from the start of training camp up until his dismissal.
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Despite that, Spezza has been able to find himself a consistent role with the Leafs scoring nine goals and 25 points in 58 games but get certainly brings more to the table than that. So far this season he has a 54 per cent faceoff percentage, and as Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston points out he is fourth in assists per hour and sixth in goals per hour.
More importantly, the soon-to-be 37-year-old has taken on the role Patrick Marleau vacated and fortunately for Toronto, it is only costing them $700,000. This is why it only makes sense that Dubas tries to get Spezza to come back with the Blue and White which doesn’t seem like it will be a big problem.
"“Hockey’s not work to me. I enjoy the challenge,” he explained to reporters on a conference call. “I’m in it for as long as I can be until I can win a Stanley Cup. That’s something that I dreamt of as a kid and I would love nothing more than to do it here in Toronto.“I feel like we’re building things with this club and I want to be a part of it.”"
This really should be the easiest contract for the Leafs to get done considering Spezza doesn’t seem to be looking for a pay raise so the Leafs can probably expect him to take league minimum again.
At the same time, the Leafs should be looking to see what Spezza has in mind in his post-career life because you can bet he will want to be involved in some way. Whether it is coaching or the front office but the Leafs should want to keep him around considering the positive impact he has had with the team.
"“I sat next to him in the locker room and picked his brain a bunch and he is a hockey mind,” Zach Hyman told reporters. “You can ask him any question about hockey, and he’ll give you an answer for it.”"
Of course, the main focus should be on what Spezza can provide the Leafs now and it’s no secret that he can continue to provide something on the ice and fortunately, the time off hasn’t pushed him towards retirement.
Do you think the Leafs should bring Spezza back next season? How much would you give him to return? Let us know in the comments below.