The Dallas Stars knew they would have to make the best of a bad situation.
All of the team's carefully laid cap plans went out the window just before the regular season when Sean Avery fell so out of favor with the New York Rangers that he found himself on the waiver wire. So while the Stars were already close to their internal budget, they had to deal with the fact that they would be under the salary cap floor as soon as injuries sorted themselves out.
Enter Eric Nystrom, a gritty lower-line forward whose $1.4 million-per-season contract made him the odd man out with the Minnesota Wild. While there were several other options out there, such as free agents like Steve Bernier and Sergei Samsonov, Nystrom's quality locker-room presence and gritty on-ice style made him the most attractive to the Stars, according to general manager Joe Nieuwendyk.
"You know how important it is to me to build that character and get players who have that character, and Eric is the kind of player that fits here,'' Nieuwendyk said."He is a good skater, a good checker, and a good guy. The money is what it is...we had to do something...but I wanted to make sure the player that came here could fit in here.''
After the jump, more on the corresponding decision to send Tomas Vincour back to the minors, a health update on defensemen Nicklas Grossman and Adam Pardy and more realignment options than you ever knew existed.
- To clear roster space, the Stars sent Czech youngster Tomas Vincour back to the Texas Stars. Vincour once again made a big impression in training camp but seemed strangely silent once the regular season started, and his demotion from the second line made Nieuwendyk's move clear. [ESPN Dallas]
"He had a great camp last year and he had a great camp this year. In between, he has to become a consistent player at that level," said Nieuwendyk. "I think he had a terrific camp with us this year and played well in preseason. Unfortunately there is going to be ups and downs with young players. I think the way we are lining up right now moving (Steve Ott) up with (Loui Eriksson) and Benner (Jamie Benn), unfortunately Vinny is going to slide down in his ice time a little bit. I’d rather him play significant minutes every night in the American Hockey League than play five to eight a night for us."
- Michael Russo is one of the more prolific NHL beat writers out there, and here's his take on the trade from the Wild's point of view. I like how he comes out and basically admits the "future considerations" will amount to a big pile of unwashed socks. [Minneapolis Star-Tribube]
- Here's a great example of creating something out of nothing. Based on nothing other than the writer's hunch that the Edmonton Oilers want to dump Gilbert Brule, there's a whole article on whether or not the Stars were ever interested in taking him. My answer would be the Stars wanted someone with a shot of actually being useful in the NHL this season, even if only on the fourth line. [Edmonton Journal]
- If you want Mike Heika's full take on the situation, you'll have to have access to the DMN's paywall. [DallasNews.com]
- Pardy (ribs) and Grossman (groin) both practiced Wednesday and are officially listed as questionable for today's 7:30 p.m. game against the St. Louis Blues. Coach Glen Gulutzan wasn't ready to commit to either player being in the lineup, but Nieuwendyk said one of the two would be in. [ESPN Dallas]
- Nuts and bolts preview of today's game from the Associated Press. [CBSSports.com]
- Scouting the enemy, part the first: My new favorite player name in the NHL, Blues defenseman Nikita Nikitin, is earning praise and promotions up the lineup in St. Louis. [StLToday.com]
- Scouting the enemy, part the second: Sources are saying a team sale is imminent? I've never heard that one before. This time it involves the Blues and Matthew Hulsizer, previously of the mess involving the Phoenix Coyotes. [The Sporting News]
- Around the Pacific Division: Still no games? You're kidding me. Well okay then, the most interesting piece of news is probably this minor personnel move from the Anaheim Ducks, who signed Troy Bodie to a two-way contract with the intention of assigning him to the AHL. [Syracuse.com]
- Realignment chatter, part the first: TSN's Bob McKenzie lays out a massive, and I mean massive amount of realignment options, some of which will make Stars fans happy and others that will make them cringe. [TSN]
- Realignment chatter, part the second: Those poor, pathetic, in-need-of-such-help Detroit Red Wings are willing to make a realignment concession. If the NHL wants them to stay in the West, they might consider that option, but only if they don't have to make multiple trips to California and Western Canada during the regular season. Can I punch Mike Ilitch yet? Does he really want his team to come off this arrogant? [Puck Daddy]
- Finally, and also from PD, Philadelphia Flyers fans picked an awkward time to show their hatred for opposing team's stars. [Puck Daddy]