He’s been a more productive playoff scorer than Jonathan Toews or Anze Kopitar. In fact, only two active Western Conference players have been more productive playoff scorers. Patrick Kane leads all active Western Conference playoff scorers with a 0.983 playoff point per game average (PPG). Next on the list is Anaheim Ducks’ forward Ryan Ketzlaf with 0.969 PPG. Note: Qualifying criterion is 50-plus career points.
Before I go any further, let me get a disclaimer out there. I’m NOT suggesting this player is better than Jonathan Toews or Anze Kopitar. However, there is no denying he has outperformed both from strictly a PPG standpoint. How many of you guessed Patrick Sharp? Or maybe Tyler Seguin from his Cup run with Boston? No, the answer isn’t Sharp or Seguin.
3rd Most Productive Playoff Scorer in the West
Jason Spezza? Really? Yes, the recent father of baby girl No. 4 and former No. 2 overall NHL draft pick is the answer. Spezza, 32-years old, ranks third in the West and eighth overall in PPG among active NHL players. In 56 career playoff games, he has 17 goals and 52 points. Those totals give Spezza a 0.929 PPG. Meanwhile, recent multiple Cup winners Toews (0.872) and Kopitar (0.857) are fourth and fifth respectively among Western Conference players.
Not all of Spezza’s career playoff stats are impressive. For instance, Spezza is a minus-2 in 56 career playoff games. In fact, of the top 16 active PPG leaders, Spezza is the only minus player. Meanwhile, Minnesota’s Zach Parise is 17th in PPG (0.764) with a minus-17.
Spezza has also never won the Stanley Cup. His 2007 Ottawa Senators were Eastern Conference Champions but lost the Cup to Anaheim.
Back to the positives. Spezza’s eight career playoff power-play goals are one more than Patrick Kane’s seven in a whopping 60 fewer playoff games.
Spezza is arguably having his best season since 2011-12. Now in his second season in Dallas, he’s settled into the Metroplex as comfortably as a Cowboy bellying up to the bar at the White Elephant Saloon in Fort Worth, Texas.
During the past five seasons, Spezza has only had two brief playoff appearances. His dynamic playoff performances (36 points in 30 games) were back in 2006 and 2007. Despite it being almost a decade ago, the fact that he has been a prolific playoff scorer in the past is invaluable experience.
Need something more recent to get excited about? Fair enough. When the Stars missed the playoffs last season, it was Spezza once again playing the role of prolific big-game scorer. He, along with teammates Tyler Seguin and Cody Eakin, led Canada to gold in the World Championships. Spezza, who grew up in the Toronto area, was the tournament’s leading scorer with six goals and eight assists for 14 points in 10 games.