Player Spotlight: Jason Spezza
(Editor's note: As the 2012-13 season draws closer, ottawasenators.com will take a daily snapshot look at some of the returning players from last year, with both a look back and a look ahead).
2011-12 stats: 80 GP, 34 G, 50 A, 84 PTS, 36 PIM, +11 rating
Last season: For just the second time in his career, Spezza hit the 80 games played total and the result was the third-most productive season he's ever had — and best since he notched 92 points in 2007-08. His goal total matched a career high, set twice previously. Spezza also challenged for the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL's leading scorer, eventually finishing fourth in that race. He achieved a trio of career milestones during the 2011-12 campaign, picking up his 200th goal (Nov. 27) and 600th point (Feb. 25), and also playing in his 600th career game (March 23).
The highlight: Voted into the NHL All-Star Game for the first time by the fans, Spezza suited up for Team Alfredsson on Jan. 29 at Scotiabank Place and recorded a goal and an assist in his second appearance in the league's annual mid-season showcase.
Looking forward: With an 'A' firmly stitched onto his jersey, Spezza has grown into one of the Senators' key leaders. His playmaking ability, in particular, helped turn Colin Greening into a 17-goal scorer during his first full NHL season. Coming off a season in which he led the league with 1,700 faceoffs taken, Spezza has also clearly become a guy head coach Paul MacLean trusts to take the important draw in all situations. On the horizon for him in the season ahead are the 250-goal, 400-assist and 700-point milestones.
Quote: "We're under the understanding that the bar is going to be raised moving forward. We have to push ourselves because when we show up here in September, we're not going to have low expectations. We've got to be ready to go and our expectations are going to be to try to win."