On the Dallas Stars …
Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News: It’s looking like the Stars will protect Esa Lindell and John Klingberg for the expansion draft. Dan Hamhuis will likely be unprotected, but it’s unlikely the Vegas Golden Knights would select the 34-year old defenseman. Patrik Nemeth will likely not be protected, so the final defenseman slot will be between Jamie Oleksiak and Stephen Johns.
There is a good chance that Julius Honka joins Klingberg, Lindell and Hamhuis on the blueline next year.
The Stars will likely try to acquire at least one more defenseman through trade or free agency.
Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News: The Stars will find a new No. 1 goalie for next season. Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi have a combined $10.4 million cap and have a combined league worst 3.27 GAA and .892 save percentage.
GM Jim Nill would love to trade one of Lehtonen or Niemi, but a buyout is more likely. Does he buyout one or two goalies?
A Lehtonen buyout would be around $2 million over two years, with Niemi around $1.5 million over two years.
The expansion draft will likely make a several goalies available, the Stars might be able to acquire another goalie before teams submit their protected lists.
Trade options before the expansion draft could be Antti Raanta, Philipp Grubauer, Joonas Korpisalo and Marc-Andre Fleury. Unrestricted free agent options for the Stars could be Ben Bishop and Scott Darling.
Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal: Dallas Stars head coach Lindy Ruff called out his veterans last week and things could be coming to an end for him in Dallas. If Ruff is let go, would GM Jim Nill consider bringing back Ken Hitchcock? The Stars gave Hitchcock his first NHL coaching gig 21 years ago. Hitchcock isn’t talking now, but it’s known he’d like to coach again.
Other coaching options for Stars could be Ralph Krueger or Gerard Gallant.