With the trade deadline fast approaching, we will be taking a closer look at the situation for each team. Where do they stand, what do they need to do, and what assets do they have to fill those needs? Next up is a look at the Dallas Stars.
The 2016-17 season didn’t go as planned for the Dallas Stars, finishing 30 points behind their pace from the previous year and missing the playoffs entirely. Now, with a new coach and important offseason additions, the club is back in the playoff race and looking to buy at the deadline.
33-20-4, fourth in Central Division
Deadline Cap Space
$4.1MM full-season cap hit, 0/3 retained salary transactions, 41/50 contracts per CapFriendly
2018: DAL 1st, DAL 2nd, DAL 3rd, DAL 4th, CHI 4th, DAL 5th, DAL 6th, DAL 7th
2019: DAL 1st, DAL 2nd, DAL 3rd, DAL 4th, PIT/MIN 4th*, DAL 5th, DAL 6th, DAL 7th
*Dallas will receive the earlier of the two picks
Even after acquiring players like Ben Bishop and Marc Methot last offseason, the Stars head into the trade deadline with a full cupboard of draft picks. That, paired with a very interesting prospect group headlined by third-overall selection Miro Heiskanen, sets the Stars up well to be one of the preeminent buyers over the next few weeks and again in June.
It seems unlikely that the team would dangle Heiskanen or other top prospects like Riley Tufte, Jason Robertson or Jake Oettinger in trade for a piece at the deadline, but there could be some names off the roster that would be interesting for teams looking for NHL options. Brett Ritchie hasn’t been able to find the same level of play he showed last season when he scored 16 goals, but is still a big body on a reasonable contract. Second-round pick Remi Elie hasn’t quite found his form in professional hockey, but is still just 22 and has shown flashes of the hard-working, puck-protecting winger he was in junior.
There is also the case of Jason Spezza, who has had an extremely up-and-down season. At one point made a healthy scratch by new head coach Ken Hitchcock, Spezza is still an excellent faceoff man and has 24 points on the year. He comes with another year at $7.5MM and a ten team no-trade list, but if Dallas decided to retain some salary they could perhaps move him to open up some ice time for their younger players.
1) Middle-Six Winger: The Stars have built a solid defensive core with their top two pairings, and Methot is expected back in the lineup soon. Instead of looking at the defense, they’re after another wing option that can contribute offensively. Linked to Rick Nash recently, they could look for a less expensive option if the rental prices get out of control.
2) Depth Center: If the team doesn’t believe Spezza can handle a matchup role in the playoffs, they could look to add another option down the middle. Martin Hanzal hasn’t been the offensive performer they’d hoped even when he’s been healthy, and despite Radek Faksa’s emergence he’s still relatively unproven. Adding a bottom-six center with playoff experience could be helpful as the Stars try to make and then contend in the Stanley Cup chase.
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