Are the Stars Without Positives Moving Forward?

This blog loves the Dallas Morning News. We absolutely love it. It is the life blood of Dallas Stars news, plain and simple. We could not discuss half of the things we do here without the work done by Mike Heika and others. That goes double in the off-season, when we cannot gather information with our own eyeballs about the team.

That being said, here's something from Dallas Morning News columnist Tim Cowlishaw that we don't love:

What are the off-season hopes for the Stars?

Things do not look bright for this team's future. The faces of the franchise moving forward are Steve Ott and Kari Lehtonen. That's not a knock on either of those young men. But Turco is gone, Modano and Lehtinen have one skate out the door, Richards has one year left on his contract and Morrow won't be here forever. Long rough road ahead.

"Regular readers of this blog (or any Stars blog) likely have a puzzled "Huh?" kind of look on their face after reading that!!", was my immediate reaction. Then I considered the fact that he might be speaking for a larger percentage of the fan base than I realize.

Is this really the way people see the future of the Dallas Stars? With nothing positive going forward?

Someone came into that chat, asking about the Stars, evidently fishing for a little bit of sunshine on an otherwise cloudy-hockey day, and they get told basically to abandon hope. There is none.

Tim Cowlishaw gets paid money to pay attention to and opine on all things sports in Dallas. It's the coolest job in the world. He was a Stars beat writer in the 90's, he's a (partial) season ticket holder, he's on television, etc. We have no reason to discount his opinion on the Stars or anything else. Indeed, it's not our place.

I will say, however, that if the same question were put to me or any of the DBD writers, our opinion would be vastly different.

(And you know what they say about opinions...)

Things do not look bright for this team's future. The faces of the franchise moving forward are Steve Ott and Kari Lehtonen.

On the Mount Rushmore of Dallas Stars players, do either of those even make it? (Fun debate for another day) Lehtonen doesn't even have a deal yet. The ambiguity of "moving forward" aside, I don't agree with the premise that your starting goaltender automatically becomes a "face of the franchise."

That Richards has a year left on his deal, I personally would tell you, can be a win-win. Either he's going to get extended this summer, or he's going to be traded and his $7.8 million price tag can be spread to other areas of need. (i.e. the defenseman everyone is clamoring for.) So there's a hope for the defensive minded.

(And BTW, Steve Ott's deal runs only one year longer than Brenden Morrow's who "won't be here forever".)

All that aside, were I to answer that question in my own way, the stars (pun?) of the proverbial show would be the trio of Loui Eriksson, Jamie Benn, and James Neal. Somewhere in my very own 63 word dismissal of the Stars future I would have included a mention of the teams brightest young talent, accounting for 78 goals and 167 points last season. No matter who you are and how you look at it, the future for those three looks exceptionally bright. Hope for the future? Yes.

The team as a whole? Until it gets sold the answer from anyone (this blog included) is going to be "Not good," as least as far as next season goes. What is good is that the sale is moving forward quietly, and with much interest from would-be buyers. Hope for next year? Unclear. Hope for the future? Of course.

What about the possibility of a Mike Ribeiro trade to free up money for defense? What about another high draft pick?

Getting to know me as many of you have over the last year, you've no doubt become familiar with the particular "glass half full" prism through which I see this team, so you know it's not from some kind of loyalty-blinding, homerific "Rah-Rah!" soapbox that I speak.

This team has a lot of positives going forward; Plenty of off-season hope.

At the very least they're "three wide" with Benn, Neal and Eriksson.

Or am I reading it wrong? Is it really as hopeless as some would have you believe?

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