Now that the Dallas Stars have addressed the future, at least as far as the NHL draft is concerned, the focus now turns to addressing the team's present.
There is a little more than a week before the start of this offseason's unrestricted free agency bonanza, and after trading Mike Ribeiro to the Washington Captials, the Stars enter that period with any number of high-profile holes in their lineup for next year.
But according to owner Tom Gaglardi, who talked with Mike Heika at the NHL draft, the Stars will have more budget flexibility to go after free agents for those holes.
"We’re definitely adjusting, so we don’t have a budget yet, but we’re prepared to be in there on any player," Gaglardi said. "We want to be smart, and we want to build the team for the long-term, to be a long-term winner, but we also know that we have free agency and we have trades, and we have to be prepared to use both of them to get better. There’s a reason for free agency, and it can help you get better without giving up assets."
Remember, the Stars have about $17 million to spend just to reach the preliminary cap floor, and they are more than $30 million away from the present salary cap of $70 million or so. Yes, those numbers are likely to change in the CBA negotiations, but all teams will be operating under the present conditions on July 1, and there is almost certain to be some sort of cap relief during the adjustment period to the new cap because of it. Commence your dreaming of Ryan Suter, Zach Parise or other UFA of choice.... now.
After the jump, an interesting theory involving Ribeiro and Bob Gainey, a photo that Cody Eakin will probably regret when he gets older and more on the shiny, new draft picks.
- I'm not always into Mac Engel's hockey opinions, and I'm really not into sports conspiracy theories, but he did make me think with this brief blog about the Ribeiro trade. His thought is that the writing was on the wall for this deal when Bob Gainey joined the team, and the fact that Gainey is not necessarily a fan of Ribeiro is no secret. It does make a certain amount of sense... [Fort Worth Star-Telegram]
- The video at the end of this blog is a little silly, but it might make out laugh. I'm far more amused by the picture of Cody Eakin at the top and want to know which bet he lost to be subjected to that. Or perhaps the Caps just have really odd hazing rituals. [Capitals Outsider]
- There is definitely a contingent out there that is unhappy with the Ribeiro trade, and Mike Heika is trying to assuage their concerns, or at least explain why the Stars felt like they needed to make the move. [DallasNews.com]
- At least one blogger with his eye on the whole league is impressed with the path the Stars have started down. [Backhand Shelf]
- Radek Faksa (@RadekFaksa on Twitter if you're looking for a new follow) is quickly moving up the list of most adorable things ever. [TheRecord.com]
- Also pretty adorable is second-round pick Ludvig Bystrom on his own Twitter account. I haven't done a sweep for the other new draft picks yet (though @CodyEakin50 has an awesome avatar photo), so if you know of any, feel free to comment. [@Luddiebystrom]
- Here's a little more about another draft pick Dmitry Sinitsyn, who redshirted with UMass Lowell last yera. [GoRiverHawks.com]
- And wrapping up your Stars related-news for the rare offseason Sunday links, Adam Burish is very noncommittal about free agency at this point. Did we really expect him to be anything else? [Channel3000.com]
- I am about as far from an Anaheim Ducks fan as one could get, but I do like seeing stories like this from the non-traditional markets. The Ducks got their first home-grown draft pick yesterday in Nic Kerdiles, who also has ties to Texas. [Los Angeles Times]
- There's little more I loathe than immediate post-draft "winners and losers," but this is about as reasonable as you can get for one of those columns. [Puck Daddy]
- So that whole Jordan Staal traded to the Carolina Hurricanes thing yesterday? It happened on Staal's wedding day. Brad Lukowich can relate. [USA Today]
- I'm not sure what I think about Kaime's new role as Stars video host, but I did enjoy the amount of coverage from the draft that she helped facilitate, including this adorable video of Faksa and his mother.