Off The Post: Jason Spezza Scores His First Goal as a Maple Leaf – Jason Spezza scored his first NHL goal against the Flyers at the Wells Fargo Arena and he scored his first as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs as well in a recent 4-3 overtime victory. After the game, he spoke about the win with Russ Cohen.
Jason Spezza: Center, Toronto Maple Leafs
Jason Spezza was born in Mississauga, Ontario in 1983. As a young child, he dabbled in modeling and acting. He appeared in a Minute Maid commercial and modeled clothing for Woolco and Kmart. At age 15 he began his major junior career in the Ontario Hockey League with the Brampton Battalion. In his first season, he scored 71 points in 67 games. He became the youngest player to ever participate in the OHL All-Star game at 15 years-old. He was selected in the OHL Priority Draft by the expansion Mississauga IceDogs in the team’s second season. That year, he scored 61 points in 52 games.
At the 2001 NHL Entry Draft, Spezza was selected with the second overall pick by the Ottawa Senators. He played for the Senators’ AHL affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins during the 2001-02 season. He made his NHL debut with the Senators the next year. In the 2002-03 season, he played in 33 games with the Senators and scored 21 points. He scored his first NHL goal on October 29th, 2002 in a 2-1 loss to the Flyers in Philadelphia. Spezza bounced between the NHL and AHL as a rookie, however he was on the team’s playoff roster in 2003 and helped the team make a run to the Eastern Conference Finals.
Collectors can find Jason Spezza’s Young Guns Rookie Card in 2002-03 Upper Deck Hockey. Spezza played during a time when multiple manufacturers held NHL licenses including Topps, Pacific and Fleer.
In his first full NHL season, Spezza scored 55 points (22 goals, 33 assists) in 78 games. Due to the NHL lockout, he returned to the AHL for the 2004-05 season. He scored 117 points with Binghamton and earned the John B. Sollenberger Trophy as the league’s leading scorer. He also was awarded the Les Cunningham Award as league MVP.
Spezza would play for the Senators until 2014 when he was traded to the Dallas Stars. He signed a four year contract with Dallas on November 21st, 2014. In his first season with the Stars, he recorded 17 goals and 45 assists in 82 games. In five seasons with Dallas he played in 379 games and scored 228 points (81 goals, 147 assists). Spezza played in his 1,000th career game on October 30th, 2018.
As a free agent on July 1st, 2019, Spezza signed a one-year deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs. So far this season he’s played in nine games and has scored four points (one goal, three assists). Collectors should look for cards featuring Spezza in a Maple Leafs jersey in upcoming 2019-20 hockey sets from Upper Deck.
Follow him on Twitter @jspezza90.
Off The Post: Jason Spezza Scores His First Goal as a Maple Leaf – Jason Spezza Career Stats
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Russ Cohen is the author of several top-selling sports related books.
Baseball’s Best Rookies
Numbers Don’t Lie: Mets: The Biggest Numbers in Mets History
100 Ranger Greats: Superstars, Unsung Heroes and Colorful Characters
100 Things Rangers Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die
“Strike Three!” – A Player’s Journey through the Infamous Baseball Strike of 1994
The Winter Classic: The NHL’s Savior
The Philadelphia Flyers: Images of Sports
Pioneers of Baseball
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