Alexei Yashin C 1993-1994, 1994-1995, 1995-1996, 1996-1997, 1997-1998, 1998-1999, 2000-2001
Born in Sverdlovsk in 1973, the Russian star was drafted 2nd overall by Ottawa in 1992. The first-ever draft pick of the Senators, Yashin spent a year with Dynamo Moscow before joining the Sens in 1993. Along with Alexandre Daigle, Yashin arrived amidst much anticipation; however, while Daigle faltered, Yashin lived up to the hype, recording 79 points in his rookie season (still a franchise record) and finished as a finalist for the Calder Trophy. On the ice, Yashin was a superstar for the Senators: a dynamic offensive threat in an increasingly low-scoring league and a consistent producer as a member of Jacques Martin's defensive-minded teams. Named the club's sixth captain before the 1998-1999 season, Yashin had the best season of his career that same year, notching 44 goals and 94 points on his way to being a runner-up for the Hart Trophy. However, away from the rink, his time in the nation's capital was tumultuous. In 1998, Yashin pledged to give the National Arts Centre one million dollars, but the personal conditions of the donations were untenable for the NAC and it cancelled the donation. During his first five years with the club he demanded a new contract on three separate occasions. After his refusal to honour the final year of his contract for the 1999-00 season, the Senators refused to offer Yashin a new contract and rejected his trade demand. Instead he was stripped of his captaincy and suspended for the season. After finally honouring the last year of his contract in 2000-2001, Yashin was traded to the Islanders for Zdeno Chara, Bill Muckalt, and the second overall pick in the 2001 draft (Jason Spezza). The brilliant Mike Milbury then signed him to a 10-year, $87.5 million contract. While injuries became a problem for Yashin once he arrived on Long Island, he was unable to match his playoff performances with those of the regular season. In June 2007, he was bought out by the Islanders at a rate of $2.2 million per year until 2015. Despite his agent's suggestion that Yashin could return to Ottawa, lack of interest from NHL clubs meant Yashin returned to Russia and the KHL, playing two seasons with Lokomotiv Yaroslav, two with SKA St. Petersburg. He played last season with CSKA Moscow. A free agent to start the season, Yashin recently accepted a position as general manager for the Russian Women's National Team.
Peter Schastlivy LW 2002-2003, 2003-2004
This is Schastlivy third appearance in the series (he appeared in posts about #13 and #16). He wore #19 during his final two seasons in Ottawa and experienced his longest stay in the NHL during that time. On February 4, 2004, Schastlivy was traded to Anaheim for Todd Simpson, ending his time in Ottawa.
Jason Spezza C 2005-2006, 2006-2007, 2007-2008, 2009-2010, 2010-2011, 2011-2012
Born in Mississauga, Ontario in 1983, Spezza was drafted 2nd overall by the Senators in 2001. Spezza garnered considerable attention as a junior, both for his more than point-per-game performance as an underage (15-year-old) player with the Brampton Battalion and for being just the third 16-year-old to represent Canada at the World Junior Championships. After playing for four different junior teams, Spezza began his pro career with the Grand Rapids Griffins in 2001-02, playing in three playoff games. Spezza would split the 2002-03 season between the Senators and the club's AHL affiliate in Binghamton, playing 76 combined games and recording 75 combined points. However, the 2004-05 lockout meant that Spezza was once again in Binghamton. When he returned to the NHL in 2005-06, it was as the team's number one centre, and he thrived in the role. He changed to #19 with the arrival of Dominik Hasek in 2005-06 (he had worn #39 during his first two seasons). With Dany Heatley and Daniel Alfredsson on his wings, Spezza set a franchise record for assists in a season with 71, while playing in only 68 games. Despite battling injury, Spezza continues to be one of the Senators' most consistent performers and has led the team in goals once (2010-11), assists three times (2005-06, 2007-08, 2010-11), and three times in points (2007-08, 2010-11, 2011-12). As he closes in on his 30th birthday, Spezza is the presumptive favourite to be the next captain of the Ottawa Senators. As fans hold their breath, waiting to see if Daniel Alfredsson has played his last NHL game, they should remember how Alfredsson became beloved in the last half of his career. Never universal loved or appreciated by Senators fans, perhaps when play resumes Ottawa can fully embrace Spezza - one of the team's most talented players and one of the community's model citizens.
Best #19: Jason Spezza
Spezza's career to this point has been remarkably similar to Yashin's. In fact, Yashin is most comparable to Spezza on Hockey Reference's similarity scores. However, off the ice, the similarity ends. While Yashin's time was a disaster, Spezza's conduct off the ice has replicated his play on it. Over a decade later, Yashin's name still conjures strong emotions from Ottawa fans and if not for a new Public Enemy No. 1 (Dany Heatley) and the return Yashin netted from the Islanders, feelings toward Yashin would be even more heated. As he closes in on his 30th birthday, Spezza is the presumptive favourite to be the next captain of the Ottawa Senators. As fans hold their breath, waiting to see if Daniel Alfredsson has played his last NHL game, they should remember how Alfredsson became beloved in the last half of his career. Never universal loved or appreciated by Senators fans, perhaps when play resumes Ottawa can fully embrace Spezza - one of the team's most talented players and one of the team's model leaders.
Worst #19: Alexei Yashin