Let's talk the Dallas Stars and the trade deadline

Introducing SB Nation's brand new NHL 2009 Trade Deadline hub. This is where you can go to read up on stories all around SBN about the trade deadline as well as get insight as to who might be available from other teams.

NHL Trade Rumors and Hockey Blogs - SB Nation NHL Trade Deadline

It will be very interesting to see how the Stars approach the trade deadline, which is just over a week away. Right now the Stars are on the cusp of the Western conference playoff standings and are dealing with injuries to some key players. A month ago it was obvious that the Stars' biggest need was a puck moving defenseman but with Brad Richards out at least six weeks with a broken wrist and now Toby Petersen out a month, perhaps the Stars are thinking about adding a forward. The Stars could also be in play for a backup goaltender.

Yet when we sit and think about what moves the Stars could make, a few factors have to go into consideration.

 

Budget: While the Stars do have some salary cap excemption room since placing Sergei Zubov, Brenden Morrow and Brad Richards on injured reserve, they also have to factor in the budget of the team. Mike Heika went into detail on this last week on his blog:

But, since losing Avery to behavioral therapy and then the minors, and losing Brenden Morrow ($4.1 million cap hit) and Sergei Zubov ($5.35 million) to long-term injury, the Stars probably have somewhere in the range of $6 million in cap exceptions (meaning they could go over the $56.7 milion cap by about that much.

However, they have to pay all of these players real money, and they also have to pay real money to players such as Brian Sutherby and Andrew Hutchinson and Mark Parrish and Chris Conner who are taking their places. So, budget-wise, they are over what they were hoping to spend for the year.

So the Stars are now well over the budget they set for themselves at the beginning of the season. When you trade for a player, you take on his salary and the Stars are just not willing to pay another bloated salary on what is most likely a rental player.

Yet the Stars must ask themselves how serious they are about getting this team into the playoffs. Do they believe they have capable players able to fill in the roster holes or do they think they need to go outside the organization to bolster a lineup that is becoming hit with the injury bug?

Who's available: With so many teams still in the playoff hunt, finding sellers willing to give up capable players is going to be difficult. Here's a short list of names rumored to be available in trades:

Player Team Pos Age Contract Status
Jay Bouwmeester Florida D 25 UFA on July 1
Vincent Lecavalier Tampa Bay C 26 11-year, $85 million extension begins July 1
Marian Gaborik Minnesota LW 26 UFA on July 1
Tomas Kaberle Toronto D 30 Two more years at $4.25M per season
Chris Pronger Anaheim D 34 Signed for one more year at 6.25M
Nik Antropov Toronto RW 28 UFA on July 1
Ryan Smyth Colorado LW 32 Three years at $6.25M
Keith Tkachuk St. Louis LW 36 UFA on July 1
Chris Neil Ottawa RW 29 UFA on July 1
Colby Armstrong Atlanta RW 26 RFA on July 1
Scottie Upshall Philadelphia RW 25 RFA on July 1
Niclas Havelid Atlanta D 35 UFA on July 1

What are you willing to give up? Trades don't come free. The Dallas Stars, under the leadership of Les Jackson and Brett Hull, are trying to build the franchise into a team that is built from within, with draft picks and nurturing prospects in their own system. It's tough to do that when a team is constantly trading draft picks and young players away for pricey veterans. Right now the Stars are pretty thin both on prospects and draft picks, especially with younger players having to step up and fill the holes of injured players.

So what should the Stars do? Obviously, the co-general managers are going to be very interested to see who might become available at the deadline. If they seriously think this team has what it takes to not only make it to the playoffs, but make some noise once they get there. Are they just one player away from getting back on track after the injuries? Or should they stick with what they have and hope to weather the storm and hope to come out on top when it's all over?

There are several players on the market that could make a nice addition to the Stars, but the team needs to figure out what they are willing to give up in return. You can pretty much throw away any talk of another Brad Richards type trade, but another mid-line winger is certainly not out of the question. Yet perhaps the Stars will just be willing to stick with what they have and ride out the season and hope for the best. This team is made up of hard-working, team oriented players and never will they just give up.

What do you guys think the Stars should do as we approach the trade deadline?

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