Stars’ Tyler Seguin: Spezza can get 15-25 goals with Maple Leafs

Jason Spezza calls in and gives his thoughts on signing with the Toronto Maple Leafs for one year, including the leadership he can bring to the young core, the fit with his family, and the chance to help push the team over the edge.

Tyler Seguin learned quite a bit from Jason Spezza during their five seasons together as teammates with the Dallas Stars.

“Spez was the first guy I’d call for anything hockey,” Seguin said Tuesday morning during an appearance on Sportsnet 590 The Fan. “He can answer any hockey question whether it’s history or present. He loves the game and he’s gonna be so good for the Toronto Maple Leafs.”

Spezza, who left Dallas and joined Toronto as a free agent earlier this summer, was among the leaders on a talented Stars team. There were plenty of veteran voices in that locker room, though, including Seguin and team captain Jamie Benn.

In Toronto, the 36-year-old centre finds himself as the senior member of his new team, six years older than the next closest skater.

After Toronto traded soon-to-be 40-year-old Patrick Marleau and Ron Hainsey, 38, signed with the Senators, the youthful Maple Leafs roster should benefit from Spezza’s leadership, experience and overall knowledge of the game.

“He loves the game, he loves to study it, he knows so much about it,” Seguin explained. “He’s a really smart guy and I think personally one day he’s going to be a GM. He’s just got such a mind for the game.”

Seguin even added that he “wouldn’t be surprised” if Spezza bounced back with a 15- or 25-goal campaign.

Those might seem like lofty expectations considering Spezza is likely to man the fourth line and has scored just eight goals in each of the past two seasons.

Still, although he’s by no means fleet of foot and his offensive output has diminished, the centre has remained an effective role player. His 58.2 faceoff win percentage in 2018-19 was best in the NHL among players with at least 150 attempts.

“You can call him an old-fashioned hockey nerd if you want, but he adapts and finds new ways to be effective and he’ll find a big role in Toronto and I know he’s going to do well,” Seguin added.

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