Sellers Once Again

Posted on March 2nd, by Rob Scichili in All, Dallas Stars. 7 comments

Let the games, er, dealing, begin.

Such is life for the Dallas Stars these days. Dead-last in the Central Division with a record of 27-26-10 for 64 points, this season is all but done when it comes to making the playoffs. The NHL trade deadline is today at 2 pm, but the Stars didn’t have to wait for Monday to come to start dealing.


GM Jim Nill will be working the phones today

Eric Cole was the first veteran to go, dealt to the Red Wings last night with a conditional third-round pick in exchange for a second-round pick and two prospects.

Let’s hope, for the Stars fans’ sake, that this isn’t the only deal announced prior to the deadline.

The bottom line is that this group isn’t getting it done, which is disappointing. Less than a year removed from a bounce-back season and a return trip to the playoffs in 2014, it is time for changes once again in Dallas.

What went wrong? Many (including me) picked the Stars to return to the playoffs, but the shortfalls of this team can really be boiled down to three things: outscored 79-52 in the third period this year (third-most goals-against in the league), a subpar record in games past regulation (a 3-10 record equals way too many points left on the table), and too many soft goals (Dallas’ save percentage was .894 entering Sunday’s game, second-worst in the NHL).


Let’s get something out of the way right off the bat in this discussion, and that is who shouldn’t be dealt today. It’s a short list, actually, it starts with Jamie Benn and ends with Tyler Seguin. OK, so it’s not really that short. Promising young talent like John Klingberg and Patrick Nemeth also shouldn’t be touched, but if there’s a blockbuster out there to be had, I’m open to adding them to a discussion.

Now, if you want to talk Scott Glennie or Jack Campbell, I’m all ears. Maybe it’s still early to give up on Campbell (he’s still just 23), but seeing Cam Fowler on the Anaheim blue line again last night was another reminder of what could have been from the 2010 draft.

The next-likely candidate to be traded is veteran center Shawn Horcoff, who is 36 with an expiring contract. He can play in almost any situation and has playoff experience. Another player who should receive some interest is Alex Goligoski. Offensive defensemen who can skate are hot commodities in the NHL.

kari-lehtonen-nhl-stanley-cup-playoffs-dallas-stars-anaheim-ducksIf there’s one player I would love to see GM Jim Nill unload today it would be Kari Lehtonen, who unfortunately has not lived up to expectations since a promising first couple of seasons in Dallas. He can be dominating at times, but honestly has not been consistent enough. Perhaps a change of scenery would do the trick for him. It’s not going to happen though.

This is a perfect example (once again) of why guaranteed contracts are a terrible thing for the league. I certainly do not blame the players for wanting them, but giving the teams some flexibility in picking up some of the money owed (ala Major League Baseball), then perhaps the Stars could move Lehtonen. Think any other GM wants the last three years of that deal with $17 million left on it? Uh, no.

The guy with the biggest value that the Stars may want to consider moving today is Trevor Daley. One of my personal favorite players (and people), Daley has stepped up his game over the last couple of seasons, embracing a leadership role and flat-out playing some clutch hockey. He’s always been a good skater, and his added offensive punch of late makes him a fantastic option for a team looking to strengthen their blue line for the playoffs and beyond (Daley is under contract for the next two seasons at a modest $5.8 million). The catch – Daley has a no-trade clause so any deal will have to be approved by him.

It’s a shame that we’re back to old drawing board once again with the Stars; We all know how exciting the playoffs can be. Nill’s job is simple – make moves now to get Dallas back in the post-season again soon, and consistently. This team still has as solid foundation to build on, but its time to move some of the veterans on this squad.

Rob Scichili

Rob Scichili (shick-lee) has worked in professional sports for over 24 years in PR and communications, including time with the Dallas Stars, Anaheim Ducks,, Minnesota Timberwolves and Dallas Mavericks. A journalism graduate of Texas A&M, he is co-owner and editor at ScoreboardTx, principal at Shick Communications and VP at Franchise Sports & Entertainment while serving on the board of the Mike Modano Foundation.

7 thoughts on “Sellers Once Again

  1. I agree with all of your points… I have often wondered why we didn’t move Kari, but now I know. It’s too bad really, I’ve never felt we have gotten our money’s worth out of him.

  2. This front office as currently assembled seems to be just fine at evaluating talent up front. No doubt the return of Mike Modano to the organization has helped with that.
    Where they lack is in their ability to evaluate defence and goaltending. Any team that wins a championship in any sport is excellent at keeping the other guys from scoring. And that hasn’t been the Stars this year. Our blueline is horrible. Yes, Klingberg has been a pleasant surprise as an offensive, puck moving d-man.I think he can and should supplant Goligoski in that role, and thereby sweep away all remnants of Ray Shero feasting on Joe Nieuwendyk’s unfortunate ineptitude as a GM.
    But even with Klingberg, we’re lacking. One scoring blueliner does not make a defence corps. We lack the stay-at-home guys that should be part of any decent team’s top 4. We need guys that will stand up at the line and make the other team actually work to gain the zone.
    And goaltending…well…yikes. I cringed when I heard about the Lindback deal in the offseason. He’s never proven he could do a thing in the NHL. Unloading him for Enroth helps, but neither he nor Lethonen are anywhere close to Lundqvist, Quick, Rask or Rinne. Heck, I think I’d take Marty Turco during his good years over the trio we’ve had so far this year.
    Here’s a thought: since Mo seems to have helped so much with the front office’s ability to evaluate forward scoring talent, maybe we need to go find Eddie the Eagle and Derian Hatcher to help the front office out on evaluating help in our own zone? Just might be crazy enough to work. But I do know that until we dream up some way to get the right personnel on the ice to keep opponent’s scoring chances down, someone will be writing a story like this at every trade deadline.

  3. There is something wrong with the south end of the AAC. Sunday night, all 4 goals were scored in the south end of the ice. This has been the rule rather than the exception this year. The soft goals Dallas has given up at home have come in that end of the ice. I was at the 5-4 Ottawa win at the AAC where 8 of the 9 goals were scored in the south end. On the 6th of Feb, in the 5-3 Lightning win, 7 of the 8 goals were scored in the south goal. This simply defies logic.

  4. I would hate to see the Stars get rid of too many of the veteran players as I think this is what is missing some nights. I know players of his caliber only come along once a generation, but the Stars could use the calming influence and the veteran leadership of a player like Sergei Zubov again. You are correct the Kari has not lived up to all of the hype and I don’t believe he will be the goalie to lead to Dallas to the Stanley Cup Finals, no matter how good the team in front of him plays.

  5. now why will Daley EVER be traded? he can score 20 goals this year, only 4 more to go with 19 games left, have Karlsson ever been mentioned as potentially being traded-no. Daley loves it in dallas, hell never approve a trade involving him, and will finish his career in dallas, and only time will tell if we retire his #6 at all

  6. Nothing has been said about a coaching change. There is too much talent on this team for them to be this bad. Lindy made the finals once in his career in Buffalo, unacceptable there and here. Nill has not impressed either. Why did ownership hire the gm from the most hated rival and the coach still seething that Hull was in the crease? Comments on Kari are right on the money.

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