First things first- I am 100% against any idea of trading the captain of our Ottawa Senators. My reasons are many, but a few will be outlined below. This post will show why Spezza means more to this team than people think- and how difficult it will be to actually replace him. Here's how our roster could look like next year, without moving Spez.
Clarke MacArthur-Kyle Turris-Mark Stone
Ales Hemsky-Jason Spezza-Bobby Ryan
Mike Hoffman-Mika Zibanejad-Erik Condra
Colin Greening-Zack Smith-Chris Neil
Erik Karlsson-Marc Methot
Jared Cowen-Cody Ceci
Alright, let's assume we deal Spezza for what could only be described as a miracle- a top 4 defenceman, a high end prospect and a 2nd or 1st round pick. Sweet. Now, we get to watch Ales Hemsky walk away with fellow Czech Milan Michalek. One of the hottest lines in the NHL since the trade deadline has just left the building. So, what does our roster look like now?
Derek Grant-Stephane Da Costa-Neil
Ceci-(Whoever we acquire for Spezza)
Anybody who tries telling me that that second lineup actually looks better can take a long walk off a short pier. Not only are you losing Spezza, he of a point per game in almost 700 games, you'd be losing a great playmaker in Hemsky, and forcing yourself to play Greening-Smith a lot more. Think fans complained about that this year? Wait until Smith is ACTUALLY the 3C on this team. Does anybody have faith in that fourth line to do anything with the puck? I sure don't, despite SDC's showing in his final call up this year. That is not a lineup conducive to winning hockey games, especially if Turris or Zibanejad go down to injury.
Take a moment to think about this, too- if Spezza is gone, who becomes our Captain next year? Will the team opt for another player likely to leave within a year or two in Phillips and Neil? Probably, because BMurr is totally into sentimental bullcrap. Let's assume they give it to the Big Rig. Now your supposed "Leadership Core" is Phillips with the C, and Neil and Turris with the A's. Of course, there's the outside chance that if they trade Spezza, they completely do away with the old guard getting letters. In that case, I'd think Turris gets the C, with Karlsson and one of Methot/MacArthur/Ryan getting the A's. Somehow, I don't see that happening. For a team that suffered such a massive identity crisis after the loss of Alfie, I find it hard to believe that they'd survive another massive change in leadership like that, so soon after the first one.
For all intents and purposes, if this team loses Spezza this offseason, we can all look forward to another spring without hockey in the Nation's capital. I don't know about you, but I certainly wouldn't be happy with that.