Q&A With Craig Ludwig
When it’s time to ask questions about the Dallas Stars or the NHL in general, we go to the source, two-time Stanley Cup winner and Stars analyst for Fox Sports Southwest, Craig Ludwig.
ScoreBoardTX: So Luds, who do you see as the big winners around the league at the trade deadline and why? Did any team make a significant jump in your eyes?
Ludwig: I like the Keith Yandle deal for the NY Rangers, they now have one of the best D cores in the league…also the Islanders picking up goalie Michal Neuvirth for some insurance. All the top teams added some insurance depth to their teams but in the end only one GM will be the guy that made the best deal buy winning the Cup.
SBTX: Were you surprised that the Stars did not make more moves other than Erik Cole?
Luds: No not really, Erik had value and had an expiring contract so Jim Nill needed to get something in return (and he could resign with Stars again in the summer for the right price)…the Stars like their young prospects and will be patient with them. Because where they sit in the standings they became sellers at the deadline, but Nill has a value set with all his players, and if that wasn’t met he still has time leading up to the draft to make more moves if they’re the right ones for the team’s future.
SBTX: Other than the obvious division leaders, if you were a GM, what team(s) would you not want to face in the playoffs right now?
Luds: The East is wide open but I would keep an eye on Washington. Barry Trotz has them playing an all around game. In the West if Minnesota can get in they could upset some teams because of the addition of Devan Dubnyk in net…he has made all the difference for the Wild since he was acquired.
SBTX: Who is your pick for most improved player in the league this season?
Luds: Believe it or not I would say Alex Ovechkin. We always knew he could score but now his new coach (Barry Trotz) has him committed to playing a 200 foot game, and for me he now becomes relevant in the conversation of MVP because he can still score 50 goals but also plays the way you need to at both ends of the rink.
SBTX: If you could start a team from scratch, what young players would you pick to build it around?
Luds: John Gibson (Aneheim), Filip Forsberg (Nashville), Seth Jones (Nashville)…I believe to be a cup contender you need a Vezina trophy candidate, a Selke candidate and a Norris trophy candidate to get you to the promise land.
SBTX: So if the season ended today who would be your pick for the Hart (MVP), Vezina (goalie), Norris (defenseman), Selke (best defensive forward), Jack Adams (coach) and Calder (rookie) trophies?
Luds: Carey Price (Montreal) would get both the Vezina and Hart, Shea Weber (Nashville) would get the Norris, Patrice Bergeron (Boston) the Selke, and it’s time for Mike Babcock (Detroit) to get the Jack Adams. The Calder will go to Filip Forsberg.
SBTX: We’ve put the Commissioner’s hat on your head for a day – what changes would you like to see made in the league?
Luds: I’d take away the fighting instigator rule (but that won’t happen). I would remove the trapezoid for the goalies and put an NHL franchise in Quebec City tomorrow….
SBTX: So what did you think about the Stars response last night to Dmitry Kulikov’s injury causing hit on Tyler Seguin when these teams last met on Feb. 13?
Luds: Message sent and received…credit goes to young Curtis Mckenzie for stepping up and delivering, and to Kulikov for excepting his penance like a hockey player should…
SBTX: As always thanks for your time!
Luds: No prob.