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Can Jason Spezza Think Defense And The Brad Stuart Signing

from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,

Spezza will need to be on the defensive Not long ago, Jeff Carter was the equivalent of Spezza — a talented but unanchored center with more promise than production. But Carter, ditched by Philadelphia, then by Columbus, has turned himself into an excellent three-zone center in Los Angeles under coach Darryl Sutter. Without Carter complementing Kopitar, the Kings don’t have two Cups in the last three years. Carter, formerly a shoot-first center, is more dangerous now that he’s committed to playing defense. Only time will tell whether Spezza, the ex-Senator, will resurrect himself similarly in Dallas. Spezza is a brilliant playmaker. But he’s never been considered defensively responsible. He’ll need to be with the Stars when he’s butting heads with Carter, Kopitar, Ryan Getzlaf, Ryan Kesler, Joe Thornton, Logan Couture, David Backes, and Paul Stastny in the Western Conference.

Stuart’s contract a head-scratcher Brad Stuart is 34 years old. He has yet to play a single real game for Colorado, which acquired him from San Jose for draft picks. The ex-Bruin is 15 appearances short of hitting the 1,000-game threshold. In San Jose, Stuart’s teammates performed better when he was on the bench instead of on the ice. He is a high-mileage, defense-first defenseman. Stuart’s average ice time, 23:10 in 2009-10, has gone down each season (21:31 in 2010-11, 21:03 in 2011-12, 20:27 in 2012-13, 19:09 last year). Yet the Avalanche signed Stuart on Monday to a two-year, $7.2 million extension. The Avalanche have yet to see Stuart, who will likely be paired with Erik Johnson, under regular-season duress. Stuart will be 35 when his extension becomes effective in 2015-16, which means he will count against the cap if he retires. Players fitting Stuart’s profile (see Chris Phillips, Rob Scuderi) struggle as they progress through their mid-to-late-30s. It’s possible Stuart could be the exception. The Avalanche could have used this season to figure this out.

more notes...

Filed in: NHL Teams, Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: brad+stuart, jason+spezza

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

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