Jason Spezza announced his retirement from the NHL on Sunday, May 29th, 2022. He also announced that he is joining the Toronto Maple Leafs in a front-office position. Spezza will be an assistant to current team general manager Kyle Dubas.
There is no news yet as to what specific job(s) Spezza will be in charge of as one of the Toronto Maple Leafs assistant GMs.
His addition to the front office is one of a few the team has made already this off-season. Sr. Director of Player Evaluation Jim Paliafito and Development Analyst Cam Charron were relieved of their duties a week ago.
Dubas hinted at more changes regarding the front office while discussing the departures of Paliafito and Charron. Spezza could take over the duties of one of the departed staff members. Either way, it should help to have someone in management that has just finished playing.
Jason Spezza and the Toronto Maple Leafs
Spezza has a wealth of hockey knowledge and will go from sharing that knowledge with teammates to sharing it with management. Spezza has been known as a leader both on and off the ice. It should not surprise anyone that he is moving into a management role.
After another early exit from the NHL playoffs, current GM Kyle Dubas might be running out of time. Spezza might need to learn as much as possible this season because it could be Dubas’s last.
The Toronto Maple Leafs will be entering their fifth season with Dubas as GM. If the team fails to advance beyond the first round again, Dubas could get the boot. Spezza is a likely candidate to replace Dubas if that happens.
After a 19-year career that saw Spezza register 363 goals and 632 assists for 995 points in 1,248 games, it is time for him to make his mark in the front office. Unfortunately, Spezza was unable to win the Stanley Cup as a player. His main goal now will be to try and help the Toronto Maple Leafs win a Stanley Cup from the front office.
(Stats from hockey-reference.com)
I think Jason Spezza will transition into his new role smoothly. He is a born leader, and although the management side of the game is much different than being a player, I think he will adjust quickly. It will be interesting to see how big of an impact he will have on the team this summer, if at all.