Jason Spezza's agent threatens retirement.

Spezza is not playing around.


A number of players were placed on waivers Sunday in the National Hockey League but all the talk following the announcement of the names on that list surrounded the 2 Maple Leafs who had been waived, goaltender Aaron Dell and forward Jason Spezza.

The fact that Dell will be claimed by a rival team seems like a forgone conclusion at this point, teams like the Edmonton Oilers for example are in desperate need of a goaltender, but the situation surrounding Spezza was far from certain and it has suddenly become very interesting indeed. 

Although Spezza is in theory available to every team in the NHL and comes at a very affordable cap hit of $700,000, Spezza may have just guaranteed that he will remain a Leaf for the foreseeable future. On Sunday NHL insider Chris Johnston communicated with Spezza's agent, Rick Curran, and Curran made it very clear that any team acquiring Spezza would be making a big mistake.

"He'll simply retire," said Curran as per Johnston.

Although this may seem somewhat shady, the reality is that Spezza is well within his rights to retire whenever he sees fit. The veteran forward has accepted a league minimum salary for two consecutive seasons in order to be close to home and close to his family, and it is clear that he would be unwilling to do so in any other market outside of Toronto. 

That being said this does not mean that Spezza will go unclaimed, as there remains an incentive to pick him up off of waivers anyways. Teams would at the very least be denying the Leafs a centerman that they have been using in defensive situations, one that won 100% of the faceoffs he took on Sunday night, although how such a tactic would be received around the NHL is another matter entirely. 

I don't think anyone wants to see Jason Spezza forced into retirement in order to avoid being away from his family during the NHL season and frankly I don't believe that any team in the league will risk picking him up only to see him retire immediately. The public relations debacle it would create in my opinion makes it very unlikely he gets claimed after these statements from his agent.