Toronto Maple Leafs: Re-signing Jason Spezza an easy decision

Jason Spezza #19 of the Toronto Maple Leafs. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
Jason Spezza #19 of the Toronto Maple Leafs. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Maple Leafs are bringing back Jason Spezza on a one-year contract extension for $700,000 which should be viewed as a no-brainer.

Going into the off-season, it seemed like a matter of when not if Jason Spezza would return with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

On the week of the 2020 NHL Draft and upcoming free agency, general manager Kyle Dubas made one of the easiest decisions he could have made. At $700,000, Spezza returns on the same contract he made last season and hopefully, he can bring the same dependable play he brought last season.

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It was a rocky start to his Leafs tenure as Mike Babcock was apparently trying to send a message by not dressing Spezza in the home opener. Despite that, he finished the season with nine goals and 25 points in 58 games.

His days as a premier top-line player are certainly behind him but that’s not what the Leafs need from the 37-year-old. He helped the second power-play unit which and was dependable in the faceoff circle.

It would be safe to assume that Spezza will be back in the fourth line centre role and he could be asked to move around the bottom six depending on what happens over the next few weeks. More importantly, Toronto gets a player who is motivated to win a Stanley Cup and will help push this young core like he did at times last season.

Considering the numerous occasions where Spezza made it known that he wanted to come back and didn’t seem eager to get a pay increase, the Leafs are going to need more players to buy into the commitment that the veteran is showing. With a desire to improve the blue line, Toronto also can’t be paying a premium on their bottom six considering what their star players are getting.

This was why the team brought back Denis Malgin on an identical deal to Spezza although Malgin won’t have anywhere close to the same role as Spezza. The team also have decisions to make with Frederik Gauthier, Evan Rodrigues and Ilya Mikheyev who are the team’s remaining restricted free agent forwards.

It will be a busy week for the Leafs but at least they are getting as much of the easy work out of the way considering some of the tough holes that need to be filled.

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What are your thoughts on the Spezza deal? What else should the team be looking to accomplish over the next few days? Let us know in the comments below.