NHL Trade Rumors: Vern Fiddler Being Shopped by Dallas Stars Per Report...?

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Don't believe the hype: Isn't it a little early for trade speculation?

Are the Dallas Stars shopping center Vernon (Vern) Fiddler to the likes of the Toronto Maple Leafs?

That's what Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun wrote Saturday night...

Dallas GM Jim Nill has been actively working the phones trying to make changes and has shopped C Vernon Fiddler. Making $1.8 million through 2013-14, I'm told the Maple Leafs looked at the possibility of bringing in Fiddler in a third or fourth-line role but decided they didn't have the cap space to make that move. Fiddler is an effective player if the Stars want to find him a new hole they will ... [Ottawa Sun]

It's not a bet being hedged. It's not ambiguous verbiage or non-committal. It's bold and out there and definitive. And Garrioch is a name- One people know even in Dallas, so this carries weight enough to warrant a post and some small modicum of discussion during a three-day break, but beyond that it's uncertain.

Canada already had Thanksgiving this year, apparently, so this could be some kind of April fools thing for all I know.

So does any of it make sense?

Shawn Horcoff figured to scale as high as a second line center when training camp began in September but now the Stars find themselves regularly playing Fiddler with much heavier minutes while Horcoff and Erik Cole languish in slightly ineffective obscurity.

Fiddler had a monster game in Boston even before his penalty shot tied the game late and eventually proved the difference in earning a shootout win. He's a favorite on the penalty kill. He starts in the defensive end with regularity. He's the kind of player Glen Gulutzan and Lindy Ruff both have enjoyed relying on when the going gets tough or a lead needs to be defended.

Plus he makes $1,800,000, so it doesn't appear to be crucial in shedding salary for any reason.

Plus the season is really just getting going.

It doesn't jive with the constant refrain of "patience" Stars fans hear. Not at all. Nor does it jive with ye old eyeball test. If Jim Nill were to make a move this early, with playoff hopes still intact, it would, intuitively, seem to have to be one that improved the team definitively this season, unless it were some steal of an asset whose value would be long term.

Or, to be more specific, you'd expect to hear about improvements to the defense before just about any other speculations. And since the potential return on this phantom of a deal is unknown it's impossible to say one way or the other whether or not it makes any sense.

Right now it doesn't seem to pass the sniff test. Not after a 3-0 road trip and playing the Blackhawks straight-up on Saturday night at home.

Closer to the trade deadline, and once the Stars are further removed from a potential playoff picture, and to a real contender (not the Toronto Maple Leafs) this might pique the curiosity a little more. It doesn't really right now, for us, but anything is possible...

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