After winning the Central Division in 2015-16, the Dallas Stars were expected to once again lead the way this season. Unfortunately for the Stars, that has not been the case.
Stars GM Jim Nill told ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun that “it’s been a frustrating season.”
The Stars have been playing catchup all season, as Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin missed all or most of the World Cup, then Mattias Janmark and Ales Hemsky were lost for the year before the season was two weeks old, and then the team couldn’t outscore poor goaltending to make up the ground.
After a 109-point season last year, the Stars are now 21-23-10 for 52 points in 54 games. They’re seven points behind Calgary for the final wildcard spot in the Western Conference. The team’s play isn’t exactly helping their cause, either. The Stars have lost three in a row, and could be sellers at the upcoming trade deadline.
Nill hasn’t officially decided whether or not to go for it this year, saying they’re “taking it game-by-game.” The Stars could do themselves a big favor by acquiring a big-name goaltender like Ben Bishop or Marc-Andre Fleury before the deadline and hoping for a hot streak. But if the losing streak continues, then pending UFAs like Patrick Sharp, Jiri Hudler, and Patrick Eaves could find themselves in new jerseys next month.
- One team that could have interest in Sharp is the Edmonton Oilers. TSN’s Darren Dreger spoke about the Oilers’ deadline plans on That’s Hockey, and said while there’s no desperation, GM Peter Chiarelli would like to add a depth center for the playoff run. Sharp is a skilled veteran who has three Stanley Cups, who has played center before and is right-handed. That would fill two needs for Edmonton.
- For the time being, Dreger believes the Oilers are comfortable with their defense. They’ll get Darnell Nurse back from injury in early March, which will serve as a solid addition to their defensive depth. However, a move could be made with either expansion draft-eligible Brandon Davidson or pending-UFA Kris Russell.
- The fallout continues in Boston. The Bruins were criticized, not only for firing Claude Julien, but for the timing. Firing a coach while the Super Bowl parade happens across town is the sports equivalent of the Friday night news dump in politics. After the move was announced, the Boston Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy called the firing disgraceful, among other adjectives, and questioned if the Bruins management thinks their fans and media are stupid. Now, Bruins reporter Jimmy Murphy tweeted that the timing of the press conference was not the work of the team’s PR department; it was ordered from “above.” Murphy also reported that the struggling Bruins are in danger of losing two major sponsors, and that the press conference timing did not help.
- The Washington Capitals are currently five points ahead of anyone else in the NHL, and their 22-5-1 home record is clearly one of the big reasons. Rob Carlin of CSN reported a ridiculous stat; in their last eight home games, the Capitals have outscored their opponents by a combined score of 42-6. That includes a 6-0 victory and four 5-0 wins.