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Stars acquire Spezza from Senators, sign Hemsky

Tuesday, 07.01.2014 / 5:25 PM / News

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Stars acquire Spezza from Senators, sign Hemsky
The Ottawa Senators traded center Jason Spezza to the Dallas Stars on Tuesday.

The Dallas Stars acquired center Jason Spezza from the Ottawa Senators and agreed to terms with former Senators forward Ales Hemsky on a three-year contract Tuesday.

In exchange for Spezza, the Senators received forwards Alex Chiasson, Nicholas Paul and Alexander Guptill, plus a second-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft. The Stars also received forward Ludwig Karlsson.

The Stars also signed goaltender Anders Lindback and forward Patrick Eaves each to a one-year contract.

"I'm very excited," Spezza said on a conference call with reporters. "Dallas is a team from the get-go that I thought would be a good fit for me."

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Hemsky had 17 points in 20 games, playing mostly with Spezza, after Ottawa acquired him in a trade from the Edmonton Oilers on March 5. He has 494 points in 672 NHL games.

"I talked with Dallas even before Jason got traded, but I talked to Jason a lot the last couple weeks," Hemsky said. "I talked to him about that and asked him about his options. I didn’t know he was going to get traded there or [if] he would go somewhere else. It wasn't a huge factor because they told me I could play with a lot of good players, but now it's even better that Jason got traded there, so I'm very happy about that."

Hemsky had 43 points in 75 games last season, the most he's had in a season since he had 66 in 2008-09. He hasn't appeared in the Stanley Cup Playoffs since 2006, when Edmonton made it to the Stanley Cup Final.

"I'm thrilled because we had great chemistry at the end of the year," Spezza said of reuniting with Hemsky. "So it's nice to hear. We played on a line for 23, 24 games, so we got to know each other pretty well pretty quickly. So that's exciting for me, for sure."

Spezza had to waive his no-trade clause to go to Dallas. Ottawa general manager Bryan Murray said June 11 that Spezza requested a trade and last week Murray had a trade in place with the Nashville Predators but Spezza rejected the move.

"I think me and Bryan sat down at the end of the season and we had a very frank conversation of where I thought the team was at and where I thought I was at and where I felt was the best fit for myself," Spezza said. "I think that it was best for me to move on. I think Bryan felt it could help the team to have me move on too, so it was tough. It was a tough decision and you know how much I've liked being there and playing there, but I felt like go on to the next chapter of my career. I want to try to win a Stanley Cup, and I felt like a change of scenery could help me get there, and to get to a team where I could play with some of the forward depth that I'm getting with [Jamie] Benn, [Tyler] Seguin and those guys."

Spezza has one year remaining on a contract that carries a $7 million NHL salary-cap charge. He is owed $4 million in salary having already been paid $45 million of the $49 million total value of his contract, according to CapGeek.com. He can become an unrestricted free agent following the 2014-15 season and said he has not had contract talks with Dallas.

"I think that I want to go there, just establish myself and play and show them how much I can contribute and just help the hockey team win," Spezza said. "The contract stuff always takes care of itself. If it's a fit for the team and it's a fit for me, then we move forward with that, but it's not a focus at all."

Ottawa saved approximately $6.1 million in salary-cap space in the trade. Chiasson has one year left on his entry-level contract with a salary-cap charge of $866,000. Paul and Guptill are not expected to be on the Senators' NHL roster in 2014-15.

Spezza likely will be the Stars' second-line center behind Seguin, who had 37 goals and 84 points in 80 games last season, his first in Dallas after being acquired from the Boston Bruins last summer.

"I couldn't be more thrilled with the young group they have there [in Dallas]; I think I can really add to that team," Spezza said.

Spezza has played his entire career for the Senators, and has 251 goals and 687 points in 686 games. Ottawa selected him with the No. 2 pick in the 2001 NHL Draft. He has played at least 60 games in nine of the past 10 seasons; a back injury limited him to five games in the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season.

Chiasson, 23, had 13 goals, 35 points and a minus-21 rating in 79 games for the Stars last season after scoring five goals in his first nine games. He had two points and a minus-7 rating in six Stanley Cup Playoff games.

Paul, 19, was invited to Hockey Canada's National Junior Team Evaluation Camp in August in Montreal. He had 26 goals and 46 points in 67 games for the North Bay Battalion of the Ontario Hockey League last season. Dallas selected him in the fourth round (No. 101) of the 2013 NHL Draft.

Guptill, 22, finished his collegiate career at the University of Michigan last season before joining the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League. He had two assists in five games in the AHL regular season but did not get into a game during Texas' run to the Calder Cup championship. Dallas selected Guptill in the third round of the 2010 NHL Draft (No. 77).

Karlsson split last season between the Binghamton Senators of the AHL and the Elmira Jackals of the ECHL. He had zero points in eight AHL games, and 11 goals and 24 points in 39 ECHL games. He has one year remaining on his contract.

Lindback, 26, spent the past two seasons with the Tampa Bay Lightning. He was 8-12-2 last season with a 2.90 goals-against average and .891 save percentage and started all four games for the Lightning in the Stanley Cup Playoffs after Ben Bishop was injured.

"I'm just excited for the opportunity," said Lindback, who began his career with the Nashville Predators after he was selected in the seventh round (No. 207) of the 2008 NHL Draft. "I played in the West with Nashville, so I know it's a little different from the East. It's a little more travel, especially living and playing for Dallas. It's a really tough conference, but it's a challenge I'm taking right now. Dallas has a very interesting team with a lot of good players, especially with adding a couple pieces today, so I'm really excited and looking forward here to the challenge."

Eaves, 30, had two goals and five points in 25 games with the Detroit Red Wings and was scoreless in five games with the Nashville Predators last season. He has 74 goals and 146 points in 444 regular-season games, as well as six goals and 13 points in 67 Stanley Cup Playoff games.

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I'm just excited about the opportunity. I've been on the ice earlier than usual and in the weight room, pushing around a little more weights than usual. Every day I go into a workout with a smile on my face and ready to go. When you do have a little more responsibility, you want to take your lunch pail and get ready to work.

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