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Jason Spezza traded to Dallas Stars in summer blockbuster

Greg Wyshynski
Puck Daddy
NHL:Colorado Avalanche at Ottawa Senators
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Marc 16, 2014; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Ottawa Senators center Jason Spezza (19) during warmup prior to game against Colorado Avalanche at Canadian Tire Centre. (Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports)

Jason Spezza’s wish has been granted: The Ottawa Senators fulfilled his trade request and sent him to the Dallas Stars in a blockbuster trade hours before the start of NHL free agency. 

The Stars send back a good return for Ottawa: Forwards Alex Chiasson, Alex Guptill and Nicholas Paul and 2nd round pick in 2015. The Senators sent forward Ludwig Karlsson back to Dallas.

"I think it's a great challenge. With the depth up front that they have, I think I'm a good fit," said Spezza on Sportsnet. 

Simply put: The combination of Tyler Seguin and Jason Spezza gives the Dallas Stars their best one-two punch at center since Mike Modano and Joe Nieuwendyk. It’s an aggressive move by GM Jim Nill that gives the Stars the quality depth at center that the West’s other elite teams all possess.

Then again, Nill's all about the aggressive moves; two years on the job, and his centers are Seguin, Spezza and Shawn Horcoff, none of whom where there at the start of last offseason.  

Spezza requested a trade from Ottawa after playing with the Senators since 2002. The 31-year-old center and the team mutually agreed on the move, although GM Bryan Murray later said Spezza had tired of the media scrutiny in the Canadian market.

One imagines the spotlight a tad less intense in Dallas.

It would have been less intense in Nashville, too, but Spezza refused to waive his no-trade clause for the Predators despite Ottawa having a deal in place at last weekend’s draft. The other team in hot pursuit of Spezza, the St. Louis Blues, is expected to turn its focus to Colorado free agent Paul Stastny.

Spezza has one year left on a 7-year, $49-million contract. Chiasson, who was a brilliant-at-times rookie for the Stars last season with 35 points in 79 games, is an RFA next summer. Guptill is a University of Michigan product with two years left on his deal. Paul was the No. 101 overall selection in the 2013 Draft and played for the North Bay Battalion in the OHL last season.

Karlsson, a big body forward, has one more year before he goes restricted.

Spezza had 23 goals and 43 assists in 75 games for the Senators this season, although he was a slight drag on possession for the team when he was on the ice (minus-1.1% in Fenwick, minus-0.2% in corsi at even strength). He’s a former 90-point center (in 2007-08).

GM Bryan Murray wanted to send him someplace outside the Eastern Conference, and accomplished that mission, while getting a solid return back for a player that (a) didn’t want to be in Ottawa and (b) was able to control his destiny with a limited no-trade clause.

It’s a coup for the Stars and owner Tom Gaglardi; the next question is whether he’ll remain in Dallas past this season.

"I'm not worried about that. I'm worried about going to Dallas and having a good season. I'm open to anything," said Spezza. 

Anyone else excited to see if Spezza and Valeri Nichushkin click?

We’ll give this deal …

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TWO MILBURYS.

As in, “a trade that could, down the road, burn one team in a big way. We're talking a trade of blue-chip prospects for a rental.”

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