While Kyle Dubas and the Toronto Maple Leafs made the decision not to retain the services of veteran forward Joe Thornton, one elder statesman they chose to bring back for another year was none other than Jason Spezza.
The 38 year old Spezza recorded his highest point total last season since he posted 50 points in 2016-17 with the Dallas Stars, scoring 10 goals and 20 assists for 30 total points. In Toronto's seven game opening round playoff series against the Montreal Canadiens, he added another three goals and two assists.
For head coach Sheldon Keefe, Spezza's leadership in the dressing room was invaluable.
"He has really established himself here in the last couple of seasons as a really key member of our leadership team," Keefe said. "It is not just who he is and what he says and all of those kinds of things. It is what he does every day and the work he puts in during the offseason — not just with our NHL players, but with the young prospects.
"With the character that he has and the experience that he has, he is just a real great asset for the coaching staff, for the team in general, and for the players that are navigating their way through their NHL careers. It is nice to have a guy like him."
This will be his third consecutive one-year contract with Toronto. He's appeared in 1,177 career regular season games, scoring 351 goals with 619 assists.