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Jason Spezza expects to play for Senators Saturday

Feb 4, 2011, 12:20 PM EDT

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To put things lightly, the Ottawa Senators haven’t been doing very well lately. They’re currently on an eight game losing streak and only have one win in their last 14 games.

Here’s one little ray of light for the hapless Sens, though: Jason Spezza is expected to return to action Saturday after missing the last 15 games with a shoulder injury. Perhaps it only makes sense that Ottawa has gone 2-9-4 in those contests without their best playmaking center.

Spezza scored nine goals and 11 assists for 20 points in 32 games, which is well below his point per game career average. (It’s also the lowest point per game total since he saw limited action in his first season in 2002-03.)

Ottawa is currently 15 points out of a playoff spot right now, which is far from an insurmountable gap, but you have to wonder if the Senators are hoping this might be an audition for the trade deadline.

There are some drawbacks to trading for Spezza, as he brings a heavy $7 million salary cap hit with him for the next four seasons. Yet a cost-conscious team might see the benefits of the fact that his salary goes from $8 million per year in 2011-12 and 12-13 to only $5 million in 13-14 and $4 million in 14-15.

That up-front cost is pretty hefty, especially for a player whose defensive play is spotty at best. Still, there’s reason to believe that a team like the Los Angeles Kings might be somewhat intrigued to add his world-class passing skills.

Either way, the Senators will be happy to see Spezza come back.

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