On the eve of the draft and free agency, Mike Heika thinks Dallas Stars fans might want to take a look back.
With questions about who the Stars might pursue in free agency, from the soon-to-be free agent Justin Schultz to Zach Parise, as well as the questions about who might fall to them in today's first round, there are several key decisions about the franchise's future that will be made in the immediate future.
And while it might sometimes seem like the Stars are stuck in a no-man's land of not young enough to be rebuilding to not talented enough to be a contender, things looked very much the same before the Stars exploded in the latter half of the 1990s.
If you want to be encouraged, consider the fact that the 1995-96 Stars were awful. Players like Greg Adams, Dave Gagner, Benoit Hogue, Brent Gilchrist and Kevin Hatcher were among the leading scorers _ and while all nice guys and nice players, they weren’t up for any league awards, either. In a fairly quick stretch, Bob Gainey added Nieuwendyk from Calgary, Darryl Sydor from Los Angeles, Sergei Zubov from Pittsburgh and free agents Pat Verbeek and Dave Reid.
Remember, the first round of the draft is on NBC Sports Network at 6 p.m. Central today. Wager on the pick, discuss what it would take to trade up or generally go crazy, prospect watchers. Today is your day.
After the jump, getting ready for today's draft, a new addition to the Stars family and Jamie Benn is starting to creep off the list of most underrated players.
- We do hope you spend today with us here at DBD for all the draft fund. But if you want things from a little more... official perspective, the Stars have put together a Draft Central section of their website that you can waste several hours on before the picks start. [DallasStars.com]
- Ah, the debate that has been raging and will likely continue until this evening (though who am I kidding - there will be debate for years no matter who they end up picking) - although the Stars are publicly committed to taking the best player available, how much will they really be temped by a center? Heika takes a look at the debate in this paywalled article. [DallasNews.com]
- It can be an interesting academic exercise to grade prospects the year after they are drafted, as Derek Neumeier has done here for last year's Stars picks. And while he offers the appropriate disclaimers, it still just rubs me the wrong way and points toward a big problem I have with all the talking heads who will be blabbering over the next 72 hours. You can't grade a draft or a prospect in the immediate, or even medium-term, aftermath of a draft. Development is as much or more important in the process of creating an NHL player, and the curve for that varies significantly and unpredictably. So while I enjoyed his insights on the players, I'm just incredibly over this phenomenon of naming winners and losers of drafts and trades well before the dust has settled.[The Hockey Writers]
- Steve Hunt over at Fox Sports Southwest joins the chorus of others taking a closer look at new Stars assistant coach Curt Fraser. [Fox Sports Southwest]
- Congratulations to Trevor Daley and his wife Kristy, who welcomed their second child, a daughter named Emery, into the world Tuesday. [@DallasStars]
- Evgeni Malkin was the big winner at Wednesday's NHL Awards, surprise surprise. Loui Eriksson was fourth in the Lady Byng voting, and Jamie Benn apparently got two votes for the Hart. I'm going to steal Brad's line and mention that I didn't know Brandon had an official vote in that race. [ESPN]
- There's been some muttering that the Chicago Blackhawks might be willing to part with Patrick Kane. But the Stars might be more interested in a defenseman like Niklas Hjalmarsson, who is also rumored to be on the market.... for the right price. [Chicago Sun-Times]
- What happens when you put Brian Burke, David Poile and Mike Milbury in a room to talk the draft? Ask Todd. [Thursday Morning Cupcheck]
- For the first time I can remember (though I admittedly haven't seen him in a bit), coach Glen Gulutzan looks well rested here as he talks about the upcoming draft. And is it me, or has he finally gotten himself outside to enjoy a Dallas summer and acquaint himself with the perma-tan that we all develop this time of year?