Born June 13th, 1983, in Toronto, Ontario, Jason Spezza has officially turned the page into a new chapter in life, where he will take on a front-office role with the Toronto Maple Leafs—originally drafted by the Ottawa Senators in the 2001 NHL entry draft with the 2nd overall pick. Spezza later went on to play for the Dallas Stars, and then his boyhood team the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Spezza’s Path to Greatness
It all started when the Ottawa Senators traded their captain at the time, Alexei Yashin to the New York Islander for Zdeno Chara, Bill Muckalt, and the 2nd overall pick in the 2001 NHL draft. The Senators then took the stage to draft whom some scouts called “a hockey prodigy,” Jason Spezza. He started his professional career in the AHL with the Grand Rapids Griffins after his 4th season in the OHL. In 2002-03, Spezza made his NHL debut with the Senators, and the rest is history. He would go on to center one of the best lines in the 2000s with Daniel Alfredsson and Dany Heatley. During his time with Ottawa, he and his teammates would have some great rivalries series with the Toronto Maple Leafs, especially during the playoffs, where it seemed like the two teams would always meet. In his 686 games with the Senators, he totaled 687 points and went on to be named captain of the team in 2013.
The Trade to Dallas
In 2013-14, Jason Spezza formally requested a trade out of Ottawa, and the suitor was the Dallas Stars. The trade saw Spezza and Ludwig Karlsson go to Dallas for a package that included rookie Nick Paul and Alex Chiasson, those who reported this trade felt that the Senators could have gotten more for Spezza than what they were able to get from the Stars. After acquiring Spezza, they signed him to an extension through 2018-19. His time in Dallas was good but not as good as his time in Ottawa, and he scored 228 points in 379 games, highlighted by 147 of those 228 being assists.
I’m Coming Home
A hometown discount like no other, coming off a contract that paid him $7,500,000 per season in Dallas, Jason Spezza signed with the Maple Leafs on July 1st, 2019, for just $700,000 for the year. After arriving at camp early to help the team, Spezza was made a healthy stretch for game one of his first campaign with the Maple Leafs. He would then go on to become a fan favorite and play the better part of three seasons with the club, each off-season he re-signed for as low as he possibly could within the CBA. In his time with Toronto, Spezza scored 80 points in 183 games, mainly playing on the 4th line and quarterbacking the 2nd powerplay unit.
Hanging up the Skates
On May 29th, 2022, Jason Spezza announced that he was calling it a career after 19 seasons in the NHL. Spezza has been described as a “pros pro” who would do anything to help his teammates, he sadly ended his career only 5 points back of 1,000 career points, and he scored 995 points in 1248 games. The 38-year-old future Hall of Famer has agreed to take a front-office role with the Maple Leafs as the ‘special assistant’ to the Toronto Maple Leaf’s General Manager Kyle Dubas.