The season may be over for the Dallas Stars, but Jason Spezza gave Stars fans something to cheer for with an impressive performance in the IIHF World Championship.
Spezza joined teammates Tyler Seguin and Cody Eakin on a dominant Canadian team that defeated Russia 6-1 in the gold medal game Sunday. Eakin opened the scoring in the first period of the gold medal game, and Seguin added a goal in the second, but Spezza’s play throughout the tournament earned him a special honor.
Spezza’s Somewhat Familiar Role
Just like with the Stars, Spezza excelled in a secondary role on a high-offense team. Canada scored 66 goals in 10 games, 26 more than the second-highest scoring team, Russia. Spezza, Seguin and Eakin scored 19 of Canada’s 66 goals in the tournament. Seguin led the tournament with nine goals in 10 games, and Eakin finished with four goals and two assists. Spezza tallied six goals and eight assists for 14 points, the most in the tournament. He was selected as the tournament’s top forward and was named to the All-Star team. Spezza finally won a goal medal in his third trip to the World Championship.
Spezza showed just what he can do when put on a line with fast, skilled players. Of course it’s not fair to compare the Stars’ roster with Canada’s, but it is exciting to see what he is capable of with strong linemates. Spezza skated alongside Nathan MacKinnon and Matt Duchene, two young, speedy , and highly skilled superstars from the Colorado Avalanche.
During the NHL’s regular season, Spezza mostly spent time on the second line with Ales Hemsky and a bit of a revolving door on the left wing. The little time he spent with Seguin and Jamie Benn on the top line included some his most productive games of the season.
Though some may look at his 17 goals and 62 points in 82 games this season as a disappointment, it was a solid output in a messy season and good for third-best on the Stars. He suffered through several extended dry spells (one point in nine games in March and two points in eight games in December), and the Stars could never overcome their rollercoaster ride of a season as they finished the season seven points out of a playoff spot.
Congrats to Eakin, Seguin , Spezza on a dominant WC tournament.For obvious reasons hope you are playing for a different championship next yr
— Bruce LeVine (@BruceLeVinePuck) May 17, 2015
An Optimistic Look Ahead
Next season, it is possible Spezza could see a healthy and motivated contract-year Valeri Nichushkin on his left and a rejuvenated Hemsky on his right. Things can’t get much worse for Hemsky than last season, so added time for system implementation and chemistry should lead to better results next season.
In the World Championship, Spezza looked like exactly the kind of player the Stars hoped to get when they traded for him. With improved linemates, more consistent play, and fewer changes on his wings, Spezza could be set up for a phenomenal 2015-2016 season. His play in the tournament provides a glimpse of hope and, at the very least, some strong positive momentum going into next season.
— TylerSeguinProblems (@SeguinProblems) May 18, 2015