Are the Senators are going to be winning a Stanley Cup this year or next with or without Spezza in the line up? I don’t think so. I think our defensive issues would indicate that we have plenty of room for growth and development before we can compete at the elite level and have a real chance at winning the Stanley Cup.
Can a budget-conscious team like the Senators afford to keep Spezza once he hits UFA status in 2015? Not likely. With Spezza’s injury history and the salary he’ll be looking for it doesn’t make sense. His production has already dropped and it’s likely that his abilities will diminish over the term of the next contract. The team also has other players that are going to need to be paid as contracts come up for renegotiation. Keeping Spezza makes that difficult if not impossible.
Can the Senators afford to let Spezza walk into free agency without getting any assets in return to help build the team’s core? Definitely not. We’ve been told that, for the most part, we can expect to see players developed within the system become solutions for future team needs. Letting Spezza walk instead of trading him will not happen unless the GM sees him as the final piece that would help push the team over the top and ensure a Stanley Cup.
Putting aside whether you like Spezza’s game or dislike it, from a business point of view, the Senators cannot afford to keep him past the end of this contract. The real question should be finding the right trade partner who will return the top 4 defenseman and/or other pieces that will serve the Senators’ team needs going forward.
It’s my opinion that the Ottawa Senators would be better served to finish their “rebuild” by trading Spezza.