by Dan Adkisson
Jason Spezza Retires, Joins Maple Leafs Front Office
One of the greatest Ottawa Senators of all time is hanging up the skates for good.
On the weekend, former Senators captain and superstar center Jason Spezza announced his retirement from the NHL. The soon-to-be 39-year-old spent his final three seasons with the arch-rival Toronto Maple Leafs. Spezza won’t be a stranger around the Toronto organization, however. The Maple Leafs announced that he’ll now serve as a Special Assistant to GM Kyle Dubas.
The 2nd overall pick of the 2001 NHL draft spent his first 11 NHL seasons with the Senators. Spezza notched 251 goals and 687 points in 686 games, helping the Senators make a trip to the 2007 Stanley Cup Final. They were ousted by the Anaheim Ducks in five games.
Only Daniel Alfredsson is ahead of Spezza on the franchise’s all-time leaderboard in goals, assists, points, game-winning goals and power-play goals. Spezza was also instrumental in helping Ottawa reach the postseason in 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012, and 2013.
“Looking forward, I’m very grateful to the Leafs for the amazing opportunity to transition into this new role. It enables me to continue to follow my passion; learn and live new experiences within the game I love,” Spezza said in a statement. “Lastly, none of this happens without the unwavering support of my parents, siblings, wife, and kids. You have always been my cornerstone.”
Having launched in early April, you can now bet on Ontario Bets legally in Canada. There’s a wide range of sportsbooks you can play through, including BetRivers, BetMGM, Caesars, Unibet, and more.
Customers can bet on their favorite sports teams in Ontario, including the Maple Leafs, Senators, Raptors, Blue Jays, and Toronto FC. The different types of sports bets include Moneyline, totals, point spread, and futures (division winners, champions, etc). For example, Senators fans could place a bet on their team winning the Northeast Division and/or the Stanley Cup next year.
Pierre Dorion Is Open To Trading No. 7 Overall Pick
The Senators didn’t get lucky in the 2022 NHL draft lottery, as they’ll hold the No. 7 selection at the July 7-8 draft in Montreal, Quebec.
This isn’t exactly unfamiliar territory for Senators GM Pierre Dorion. The Senators picked fourth overall in 2018 (Brady Tkachuk), 19th in 2019 (Lassi Thomson), third and fifth in 2020 (Tim Stützle and Jake Sanderson, respectively), and 10th in 2021 (Tyler Boucher).
Unlike the previous four drafts, however, the Senators may not end up using that valuable top-10 selection. That’s because Dorion is open to dealing the pick if it means adding a player that can help Ottawa win now.
“I think we got to look at everything,” Dorion said in an appearance on TSN 1200 (h/t Josh Wegman of theScore). “Maybe this is the year that we move pick seven to get an impact player that can help us right away. We’re not going to get a guy that’s a pending (unrestricted free agent) in a year’s time. I don’t think that would be really smart for us to do. But if we can get a guy that we know we will have some control over for more than a few years, that’s something we’d definitely look at.”
The Senators have a plethora of cap space and are in great position to add several notable players to complement the promising young core. There has been plenty of speculation that they could land Florida Panthers pending UFA Claude Giroux, who grew up in Ottawa.
With Tkachuk, Sanderson, Stützle, Josh Norris, Drake Batherson and Thomas Chabot already in the picture, the Senators are seemingly near the end of the finishing line for their rebuild. So if Dorion can get an enticing offer for the No. 7 selection, it would make good sense for Ottawa to deal the pick away.
Matt Murray & Jake Sanderson Will Be Ready For Camp
The Senators lost starting goalie Matt Murray for the season during the Mar. 5 game against the Arizona Coyotes after he suffered a concussion.
It was an unfortunate break for the two-time Stanley Cup champion, who enjoyed a midseason surge following a demotion to the AHL. The good news is that Murray will be ready for training camp in the fall.
“He’ll be ready for camp,” Dorion told reporters last week, per Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun. “He was in good spirits and he’s working out right now after the concussion so we don’t see any hurdles for him playing for us
The aforementioned Sanderson is recovering from a hand injury that required surgery back in March. Per Garrioch, Dorion stated that Sanderson will “be ready for development camp right after the draft.”
The 2020 first-round pick didn’t make his NHL debut this season, but barring any surprises, Sanderson should be on the opening night roster for 2022-23.