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Spezza's youth best served with patience

The Ottawa Senators aren't rushing Jason Spezza into the NHL. And everyone will be better for it.

Updated: October 29, 2002, 12:31 PM ET
By E.J. Hradek | ESPN The Magazine

If Jason Spezza had been drafted by the Atlanta Thrashers or Columbus Blue Jackets or Nashville Predators in 2001, he'd likely be in the first month of his second professional season.

You see, that's what happens to top 18-year-old prospects who are selected by expansion or bottom-end clubs in today's bloated 30-team NHL. Ready or not (and all 18-year-olds think they're ready), these talented kids pass go, collect a couple of million dollars and enter a world for which they aren't yet properly ...

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