Would the last man standing kindly turn out the lights?

It is looking more and more as though Jason Spezza may be that guy for the Ottawa Senators. THE guy.

It won't be centre Chris Kelly, the other forward with an "A" on his jersey. A few minutes after Ottawa's 4-3 shootout loss to the New York Islanders, Kelly was dealt to the Boston Bruins for a second-round pick.

Just Tuesday morning, Spezza told me how close he was to Kelly, promoted to an alternate captain after the Mike Fisher trade.

"We kind of bounce a lot of things off each other," Spezza said of Kelly. "And we both plan on being here now for a while. We want to try to figure out as much as we can how to make this team better fast."

Several hours later, Kelly was being asked to make the playoff-bound Bruins better, leaving Spezza, a little more alone, once again.

How time gets away from us, how things change.

Just last summer the Senators' No. 1 centre was wondering if it might be best to move on from Ottawa. After getting booed on home ice during the Stanley Cup playoffs, he said as much to general manager Bryan Murray. Murray shared it publicly, and the Spezza story went viral.

Fast forward six months as the Senators' regular season lies in ruins, with the beloved Fisher now wearing the uniform of the Nashville Predators, the first volley in a major rebuilding program in Ottawa. Just as fans were starting to wonder if Spezza, too, might be among the veterans moved, over the weekend Murray added Spezza's name to his short list of untouchables, captain Daniel Alfredsson and sophomore defenceman Erik Karlsson being the others.

Has Spezza evolved from cornerstone to trade bait back to cornerstone?

It's starting to look that way, but who knows, really.

Dany Heatley, once thought to be captain material, bailed on this team a year and a half ago. Chris Phillips turns 33 next month and is a pending unrestricted free agent coming off a difficult season. His future here is unclear.