During the summer, after free agency was over and the Dallas Stars had their roster filled out, we looked at the set up of the defense. Six NHL players were signed, leaving one roster spot open for either Brenden Dillon or Jordie Benn, and the two would have to compete against each other in order to earn that spot. As it turns out, GM Joe Nieuwendyk believes both are NHL ready, and helped to make some additional room for them.
"It's huge for us," said Benn. "We've been working hard for this, but we've got to work harder to get in the lineup and stay in the lineup."
"It's definitely an opportunity I am looking to seize," said Dillon. "This is where I wanted to be from day one. I want to be a Dallas Star and I want the Dallas Stars to do as well as they can."
The trade of Fistric left the Stars with five defensemen under one-way contracts - Alex Goligoski, Trevor Daley, Stephane Robidas, Philip Larsen and Aaron Rome - and two roster spots open.
Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk felt now was an ideal time to move a couple of the team's younger defensemen up the ladder.
"You always try to analyze when the best time is to transition your kids in, and I think this is a real good time because the league has been shut down and these kids have been playing," said Nieuwendyk.
Unfortunately, this meant trading away fan favorite Mark Fistric. There are more people than just the fans that are going to miss him, though. Yesterday, the players and coaches found out about the trade just after practice finished up. While they understand it's the nature of hockey for these things to happen, it doesn't make it easier to say goodbye.
"He was a great kid, great player for our team. We obviously wish him all the best. He became a pretty good friend of mine," said Stars defenseman Trevor Daley. "It's upsetting to see when friends leave, because as much as they are teammates they become friends, too. I found out about 30 seconds ago. I haven't had a chance to talk to him or say goodbye to him, but that's the first call I'll make when I leave."
Fistric, who took part in practice on Monday, was taken in the first round (28th overall) of the 2004 draft. He played in 257 games with the Stars, registering 23 points (3 goals, 20 assists) and 220 penalty minutes. He led Stars defensemen with 235 hits last season.
"It's a tough one, obviously, for a coach because we build relationships with these guys and he was a good hockey player. He was a great human being. We're going to miss him, but it is part of the game," said Stars coach Glen Gulutzan. "It opens the door for some of our young guys to step in and play a prominent role. If you think about it, it hasn't happened here in a while. We've got two spots to fill with two players."
At least Fistric wound up heading back towards home with the trade to Edmonton. I think I speak for most of us when we wish him the best of luck. We'll see him in a different uniform for the first time on Feb. 6, so mark your calendar.
Coming up in the days links: Fun activities from the Stars and DBD, training camp news and notes, and GameCenter is nearly as free as it can get.
- The Dallas Stars have announced an IceBreaker event on Thursday, Jan. 17th, for all fans to come out and celebrate the return of hockey. It is a free event that should be a ton of fun. If you go, make sure you bring your camera and take pictures! We would like to post some of the pictures here at DBD, if you're willing to share them. More information on that will come out on Wednesday. In the meantime, read the FAQ for the event to learn all you need to know. [DallasStars.com]
- Also happening on Thursday: Mike Modano, Marty Turco, and Mark Recchi are joining the Stars organization. That's all we know for now, so stay tuned Thusday, or go see them yourself at the Ice Breaker event. [Twitter]
- If you'd like to attend the home opener on Jan. 19th against the Phoenix Coyotes, but have not gotten tickets yet, we would love for you to join us. We are throwing together a group event at the game. The ticket prices are a special rate, with no ticketmaster fees or anything tacked on. We hope to see you there! [DefendingBigD]
- Faksa is up in training camp for a few days, and talks about how excited he is to be part of it. Apparently, he's been looking forward to being on the ice with another player from the Czech Republic since he was a little kid. I wonder who he's talking about? [Stars Inside Edge]
- Today's skate will be a little different than normal. It will feature a scrimmage between the Dallas Stars and the Texas Stars. As always, these skates are open to the public. [Dallas News]
- There are 3 goaltenders fighting for 2 NHL spots at training camp this year. Mark Stepneski talks about the depth at goaltending that the Dallas Stars are lucky to have. It doesn't seem like that long ago that all Dallas had was Marty Turco, and no one else. [Stars Inside Edge]
- Elsewhere, Sarah Kwak previews the Pacific Division, and makes predictions for the season. I don't tend to agree with them, but that's just me. [Sports Illustrated]
- Here are 5 things you should know about the Dallas Stars for the upcoming season. Four of them are open questions that will last through the season. The other is signing Jamie Benn. [ESPN]
- If you're interested in purchasing Center Ice or Game Center Live, here are some details on the pricing for both. Just remember that blackout rules apply. So, if you live in Texas, it may not be the best way to catch the Stars on TV. If you have any general questions about CI or GCL, you can always jump over to the OT Thread, where those of us who have had them would be happy to help. [Dallas News] [NHL]
- I get a kick out of this story. After both parties were saying they wanted a trade to be done, it appears that both sides are now happy that Luongo will be staying in Vancouver this season as a back up goalie. Yeah, okay. We all buy that. [Puck Daddy]
- Finally, if you haven't heard yet, Mark Stepneski has been officially brought on board the Dallas Stars organization. He has already been writing for them for a couple of months, but it was made official yesterday. If you are on twitter, make sure you give him a follow (@StarsInsideEdge). [Twitter]
- Your video of the day comes from Stepneski, who has been shooting some footage with regularity at training camp. This comes from yesterday's practice.