It has been a quiet off-season for trades to this point, with the last major deal being the St. Louis Blues’ acquisition of Ryan O’Reilly for a package of three players and two picks back on July 1st. It has also been close to a month since the Dallas Stars were named the front runners for superstar defenseman Erik Karlsson – or any legitimate Karlsson rumors for that matter. Yet, the Stars still remain active on the trade market, according to Dallas beat writer Mark Stepenski. Could they be the team that makes the next big trade?
Stepenski recently spoke with Stars GM Jim Nill about the off-season. While their discussion mostly centered on a Tyler Seguin extension, Martin Hanzal’s recovery progress, and the restricted free agency situations of Mattias Janmark and Gemel Smith, the two also talked about bringing in players not currently on the roster. Nill admitted that the team was still interested in making additions this summer, saying:
“I can’t name things, but there is still lots out there. We’re talking to teams. There is still a lot of movement happening within the business. I can’t say there is anything happening overnight, but there is a lot of dialogue still.”
The Stars are clearly interested in adding another big-name defenseman to add to defense that already sports John Klingberg and a now-healthy Marc Methot among others. Karlsson is obviously the top available defenseman, but the Ottawa Senators’ asking price was reportedly too high. The team could also look at the likes of Justin Faulk, Chris Tanev, or perhaps even disgruntled Jacob Trouba. However, the team actually performed better at preventing goals than they did scoring them last season. Despite impressive forward depth on paper, the Stars tied for 18th in the league in goals for and a scoring drought was one of the main factors behind the late-season collapse that cost them a playoff spot. While the team has already re-added Valeri Nichushkin and signed Blake Comeau and Erik Condra, it wouldn’t be surprise if the “lots out there” that Nill is looking into are forwards. Artemi Panarin, Max Pacioretty, Jeff Skinner, and Mathieu Perreault have all been considered likely to move at one point this summer and now New York Rangers’ center Kevin Hayes can be added to that list as well.
It does seem that Nill is right that there are a lot of talented players available and he is no doubt talking to teams, but the question remains whether he can actually put together a big trade to help his team this off-season. Dallas has more than $6MM in cap space and many intriguing young players and prospects. They certainly seems like a team that could make a splash at some point this summer.