Dallas Stars 2014-2015 Player Grades: Jason Spezza
How did the Stars' biggest offseason acquisition perform in his first year with his team team?
Once again it's that time of year here on Defending Big D where we take a look at each player that suited up for 20 or more% games this season (and finished the season with the team) - and take a look back at their season. What was good about it, what wasn't so good, and the lasting impression they left us as we go into summer.
Regular season statistics:
Key stat: 26. Spezza recorded 26 powerplay points this season, which was second on the team behind only Tyler Seguin. He was a very, very large reason why Dallas improved from 23rd in the league last year to 11th this year on the man advantage.
The Good: Acquired last summer to provide some much-needed secondary scoring behind the dynamic duo of Seguin and Jamie Benn, Spezza did exactly that, finishing third on the team in points with 62, a full 22 points ahead of fourth place Cody Eakin. His 54% faceoff percentage was the best on the team, and it's not a far stretch to assume that he gave Seguin a lot of pointers and helped him get his numbers in the dot up this season. Finished the year as one of the best puck-possession players on the team. Was asked to be more defensively responsible than he was in Ottawa and improved a lot in that area.
The Bad: Spezza's high point totals were good, but his point-per-game average was the lowest that it's been since 2003-2004. His 17 goals were the lowest of his career, excluding the 33-game season he played in 2002-2003. Spezza has lost a step over the years and sometimes looked like he was skating in molasses compared to his much faster teammates. Despite defensive improvements he was still victimized in his own zone one too many times. Could have been more consistent, as there were a handful of games where he was completely invisible.
Bottom Line: Overall, Spezza did exactly what he was brought in to Dallas to do: score a bunch of points. After 13 years with the same organization there were bound to be some hiccups adjusting to a new team and new city, but he handled them quite well. With a contract extension already signed Spezza will have plenty of time to continue growing and gelling with the Stars.
How would you rate Jason Spezza's 2014-2015 season?