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Are Babcock's comments about Spezza a cause for concern?

september 18, 2019
For the second time during the preseason, Mike Babcock has made some odd remarks regarding Jason Spezza. The Maple Leafs signed Spezza to a 1-year, $700,000 contract back in July and it's safe to say there were mixed feelings on the deal. Some were critical of the decision, as trading Marleau was supposed to open the door for another young player to get more minutes, but replacing him with another 35+ contract does not play to the strengths of a young, fast Leafs team. Others applauded the signing, as the Leafs were able to replace Marleau's high price tag with a player of similar experience and leadership with a much lower cap hit.

Mike Babcock, following the Leafs' first exhibition game on Tuesday, commented that the coaching staff was still evaluating what is going on with Spezza, gauging his interest in the new role he will be taking on with the team, as well as the team's interest in the player. This is very odd, given that Spezza is not on a PTO.

NHL Insider Mike Zigomanis has given his take on the matter, stating that he does believe that it is possible for both sides to mutually agree to walk away from the contract, should the fit not be best for the team and the player.

It's a little early now to determine how things will pan out, but this is an interesting turn of events, in any case. Zigomanis believes that Spezza will be with the Leafs to start the season and that any decision about his future with the club will be made between the two sides at a later time if the fit is not right.

It is worth stating that there is a big difference in playing in a top six, top powerplay, impact role and playing in a 4 line role where Spezza will be there to win draws, kill penalties and otherwise play under 10 minutes a night.

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