Dallas Stars: Jason Spezza Will Shine In 2017-18 Season

CALGARY, AB - MARCH 17: Jason Spezza
CALGARY, AB - MARCH 17: Jason Spezza /

The 2017-18 season will be a big year for a lot of Dallas Stars players. One in particular is Jason Spezza, and it’s time for him to reach new levels.

The Dallas Stars are entering the 2017-18 season with a lot of talent and a lot of expectations set for them. But it’s not just for the team as a whole; it seem as though just about every player on the roster has a big mountain to climb as well.

Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin must get back to their 80+ point selves; Martin Hanzal, Alexander Radulov, Marc Methot, and Ben Bishop have a lot to prove; John Klingberg must redeem himself after a catastrophic 2016-17 performance; Julius Honka has massive expectations in his first full NHL season; Antoine Roussel must earn himself a new contract through his play; and will the bottom six be able to produce on the scoreboard?

Everywhere you look, there is a standard that must be met. Even Ken Hitchcock has a lot of pressure to deal with in his first season back with the team. It’s an exciting time to be a Stars fan, but the excitement must be kept in check. Otherwise, the lofty expectations could topple the entire team.

There’s one player in particular that probably has a lot on his mind, though. That’s veteran forward Jason Spezza.

Live Feed

Toronto Maple Leafs: Jason Spezza Joins Kyle Dubas in Pittsburgh
Toronto Maple Leafs: Jason Spezza Joins Kyle Dubas in Pittsburgh /

Editor In Leaf

  • Jason Spezza's Departure Hurts the Toronto Maple LeafsEditor In Leaf
  • All Time Ottawa Senators Team: ForwardsSenShot
  • Ottawa Senators 2022-23 Report Cards: ForwardsSenShot
  • Who's The Next Ring of Honour Inductee?SenShot
  • GAMEDAY PREVIEW #76: Ottawa Senators VS Toronto Maple LeafsSenShot
  • Spezza will enter the 15th season of his NHL career and fourth as a Dallas Star this year. That’s an awful long time for a player to spend in the game. Luckily for Spezza, he was drafted at age 18 and only spent one year in the minors before making it to the big leagues.

    Still, if you do the math and add in all of the different factors, it puts Spezza at 34 years young. Besides Jaromir Jagr (who obviously has a titanium skeleton considering he is still wanting to play at age 45), not many NHL players typically skate past 39 or 40. That means that if he’s staying in line with the cultural norms of the NHL, he has five or so years left before retirement hits.

    So what does this have to do with Spezza needing a big season this coming year? Well, because Spezza is one of the many Dallas Stars who has yet to hoist the Stanley Cup. At age 34, that’s becoming more and more of a relevant factor.

    Spezza spent the first 11 years of his hockey career with the Ottawa Senators. In that span, the Sens only advanced past the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs once (in 2007 when they went to the Stanley Cup but lost).

    That’s a tough pill to swallow, and it eventually put Spezza in a bind. He is one of the most talented veterans in the league and when the summer of 2014 rolled around, he wanted to prove that somewhere else. He requested a trade to a team that had a realistic shot at winning a Cup in the near future, and that team just happened to be Dallas.

    Dallas Stars
    Dallas Stars /

    Dallas Stars

    The Stars brought him in via trade, and a spark set off immediately. No. 90 brought speed, slick hands, smooth skating, and a tricky but accurate shot to the Dallas forward group. He rounded out the top-six group, slotting in as a second line center. When Jason Spezza is your second line center, you know you’re doing something right.

    In his first season, he put up 17 goals and 62 points. In 2015-16, he scored 33 goals and 63 points. It was clear that Spezza had become one of GM Jim Nill’s best acquisitions, and it was only a matter of time before he and the Stars got that long-awaited Cup.

    But here we are in September 2017 and the Stars are still empty-handed. They slumped in Spezza’s first year, made a daring run that fell just short in 2015-16, and then flopped hard in last season’s effort. The Stars turned in one of the worst seasons in franchise history, and the club as a whole looked lost.

    Spezza dealt with injuries for a chunk of the season and only skated in 68 games, putting up 15 goals and 50 points. It was an ugly year overall and something had to be done.

    Nill assessed the damage properly and made all of the right moves during the 2017 summer. He brought in veteran help on offense, defense, and in the crease. The addition of Martin Hanzal should give Spezza a chance to play on the right wing of the second line, giving him more time to focus on scoring (which he is a natural at).

    The team looks exceptional on paper, and Spezza is one of the cornerstones in the master plan.

    More from Editorials

    While the Stars have faltered in the past few seasons, the Senators have flourished. That’s just bad timing, but it should serve as a motivational factor for Spezza. It’s time for him to go all in and leave it all on the ice. His prime is still hanging around, but it won’t be here for long. Time to strike while the iron is hot.

    Spezza also has two years left on his current contract. While that doesn’t mean that this year makes or breaks his future with that team (even though it may considering Seguin’s looming extension and a need to open up cap space), this is a big year for no. 90. There’s probably a good chance that he would like to retire in Dallas as well considering all he has done in the community. If that’s the case, production will be key.

    If the Dallas Stars as a whole can back his performance with a stellar one of their own, this could be a really exciting and entertaining season for the team.

    More From Blackout Dallas: Five Reasons The Stars Make The 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs

    Jason Spezza has spent his entire career wowing hockey fans and making a name for himself. As a first time fan, you’d probably assume that he’s won at least one Cup considering his talents. This is the year he can turn that dream into a reality.

    Next: Bold Predictions For Stars' 2017-18 Season

    This season holds a lot of questions and expectations. Lying at the center of those is Jason Spezza. Is he ready to ante up and even go all in? It’s time for Spezza to let out the fire building inside of him.

    October 6 cannot get here fast enough.