Written by Dan Raicevich and can be found on twitter at @dan_raicevich
It has been a transition year down in Big D throughout this campaign. With Jim Nill replacing Joe Neiwenduyk as the General Manager, and Lindy Ruff replacing Glen Gulutzan as the Head Coach, the Dallas Stars made major and fantastic changes up front with management and the bench boss. With the new look in their unique green sweaters, the Dallas Stars were already making changes this summer.
Some of their major moves made over the summertime were acquiring sniper Tyler Seguin in a blockbuster trade from the Boston Bruins, Shawn Horcoff of the Oilers, Sergei Gonchar from the Ottawa Senators and the drafting of highly-talented Valeri Nichushkin, who spent time playing for Traktor Chelabinysk in the KHL last season. With these major additions, the Dallas Stars put themselves into a good position to build a winning and successful franchise in which the fans of the Dallas-Fort Worth area deserve.
The days of the Mike Modano’s, Marty Turco’s and Sergei Zubov’s on the roster are long gone. The Stars have not made the playoffs since their deep run into the 2008 Western Conference Finals. The five (and possibly six) year drought of playoff hockey in the Lone Star State is a drought that has gone on far too long in my opinion.
Now arises the trade deadline, and deadline day which comes tomorrow at 3:00 PM. Jim Nill has clearly been working the phones as he sent veteran defenseman Stephane Robidas to the Anaheim Ducks in return for a conditional draft pick. As a guy whom I have always respected, this is a great move by both the Stars and Ducks. The Ducks are getting a talented player in Robidas while Dallas is getting a mid-round draft choice which they can use to obtain talent for the future.
Now the question arises…what more does Dallas need to do here at the Trade Deadline?
Here is my opinion on what Dallas needs to do.
Sitting in the final playoff spot, they have shown that they have what it takes to make the playoffs (currently holding a one point lead for that final Wild Card spot) I think Dallas should consider ADDING a depth guy or a young asset to the team. Yes, I did say adding because I do feel that the Dallas Stars can make the playoffs with this team that is currently on the ice. Kari Lethonen, when healthy, has been one of the finest goaltenders in the game. I also feel that the line of Nichushkin, Seguin and Benn is one of the elite lines in the league and could be the best line in the NHL two-three years down the line.
I feel that their defense is alright, nothing spectacular, but with the leadership of Gonchar and Goligoski, the Stars back end could help them make a push for the playoffs. Even though their defensive corp may not be the strongest in the mighty Western Conference, it can help them earn that elusive second Wild Card spot.
What I can see Dallas doing is adding a player like Lee Stempniak. He’s is a guy who can come in and provide second to third line minutes when needed, yet add some leadership for the young guns who Dallas views as their future. Stempniak draws to me as a player who would fit on a line with Horcoff and Erik Cole, yet adding depth to play a lesser role on a team still in the playoff hunt. It would not cost much in my opinion to add Stempniak…quite possibly a third-fourth round draft pick at the worst. He would be a stellar fit in the Dallas lineup.
Will the Dallas Stars to do here in the incoming hours? I do not think they will be making any moves in all reality. They may be doing something similar to what the Detroit Red Wings have done over the years around the deadline when Jim Nill was being Kenny Holland’s Assistant GM.
The team is in a prime position to cause some havoc in the Wild Wild Western Conference. Jamie Benn is a pure superstar, and Tyler Seguin has stepped up his game with the change of scenery. Valeri Nichushkin is going to be the best player to come out of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft with a talent level and natural ability level that no player in that draft could duplicate.
I do not see the Stars making a major move, or anything off the charts. They will stay pat now and possibly add a depth player that plays a game like Lee Stempniak. We can all speculate, and we can all ponder but the Dallas Stars will be back to an elite team that they once were in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s.