It has been an up and down transition year for the Dallas Stars, as the infusion of youth has taken place. With ten different rookies and sophomores on the team, it really shouldn't come as a surprise.
Yet nearly halfway into the season, the Stars are right in the thick of the playoff race.
There's a lot that can be attributed to that success. The first is the veterans that can help to stabilize this team. Acquisitions like Whitney and Jagr provide a new level of scoring, while also providing maturity to the lines. Other experienced vets on the team, such as Morrow and Robidas, can teach the newer players the ropes, and prove to be a calming force on the ice.
Of course the kids also have to succeed on their own, and they are certainly doing that. Dillon has quickly become one of the best defensemen on the team. Cody Eakin has helped make the third line a threat to score whenever they are on the ice.
It's an excellent combination. And while mistakes will be made due to youth and inexperience, there is certainly a lot of promise on this team. Dallas Stars owner Tom Gaglardi agrees, and recently told Mark Stepneski how he feels about this young group.
"I think it is ten first or second year pros, which is more than any team in the league. It's kind of funny because guys talk about all the youth movement in Edmonton, but we've got more first and second year pros playing than they do. I think that's great. We've tempered it with some age and some veteran presence, and I think we've had some success with that. There have been a lot of games this year where the young guys have been our best players. I think that is promising. I am bullish about our future. I think our record could be better than it is, but nonetheless we are in games. And I hope some of the bad habits we've seen are starting to creep out of our game."
Gagalardi has plenty more to say about realignment, the Stars' trading for the year, and his thoughts on the team as a whole. You can read it all here.
Coming up in today's links: A devastating eye injury, looking at trade scenarios across the league, and an informative video about the Boston Bruins and their stance on diving.
- Some people have heard that, even if Ryan O'Rielly had accepted the Flames offer sheet, he would have passed through waivers, meaning they would have lost him and their compensation picks. Luckily for them, Colorado matched. But this isn't the first time there have been massive screw ups in situations like this. Here's a bunch more. It's like Ripley's Believe It Or Not meets the NHL. [Grantland]
- There's a trade rumor going around that the Pens are hoping to acquire Jack Johnson. But is it a good idea? [Puck Daddy]
- Meanwhile, here's Part 1 in a series looking at the need for trades by team. It's interesting to see what each GM has to say. [ESPN]
- It's more of the same for the Chicago Blackhawks, who won yet again last night. As long as they only lose their remaining two games against us this season, I'm okay with this. [NHL]
- The injury bitten Blues are having a hard time stringing wins together. They at least got some offense last night, but it wasn't enough as they dropped one to the Kings. [NHL]
- Allan Muir takes a look at what an All-Star game might look like at the halfway point of the season. Here's the Eastern Conference side of things. [Sports Illustrated]
- The Power Rankings for SI have come out. Very similar to the ESPN ones from yesterday, with most of the teams being a jumbled mess. [Sports Illustrated]
- This link is not for the feint of heart. Marc Stall took a puck right in the eye. I don't know the extent of the injury (I couldn't bring myself to watch the video either), but I wish him a speedy and full recovery. Reminds me of when it happened to Boucher. Seeing that kind of injury once was enough for me. [Puck Daddy]
- For your video of the day, this one has been making the rounds for a few days now, so I thought I would share it with you. The Boston Bruins coach made it known last week how much of a disgrace some players were thanks to their diving, and how the league needed to do something about it. Thankfully, someone decided to make this video, reminding us and him that every team is guilty of it. Especially teams with Brad Marchand on their roster.