NHL Trade Deadline: Dallas Stars Facing Tough Roster Challenge

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Who will finish out the season in the NHL with the Stars? What about the AHL playoffs? Let's take a look at the situation.

With the trades of Derek Roy and Jaromir Jagr, the Dallas Stars now have a series of roster decisions ahead, most pressing of which is how to fill out an NHL roster now that two top-six forwards have been moved. Logic says that after trading Jagr and Roy the Stars should exclusively turn to the "kids" in the organization and see what they can pull off the remainder of the season.

Complicating matters are the rules surrounding the NHL trade deadline and AHL playoff rosters, as the last thing Dallas needs is to hinder the postseason chances of the Texas Stars just to finish out the season.

Here's the rundown on the roster situation: There is no longer a "Clear Day" roster for AHL teams to submit weeks before the actual postseason begins; instead, AHL teams submit their playoff rosters the day after the season ends. However, for a player to be eligible to even be in the postseason that player must be on the AHL roster when the NHL Trade Deadline passes at 2 p.m. CT on Wednesday.

This means that if the Stars desire any player currently in the NHL to play in the AHL postseason, then that player must be assigned to the AHL before the trade deadline tomorrow. This is simple a paper transaction but here's the rub -- teams have just four "non-emergency" recalls after the deadline passes.

As such, the Stars could "send down" Reilly Smith and Tomas Vincour before the deadline and then recall both in time for the game against Anaheim tomorrow night. That leaves just two recalls the remainder of the season, although there are emergency recalls available if an injury situation necessitates it.

Perhaps the Stars recall the exact players they want to finish the season and then they're done with roster moves. That doesn't answer the question, however, of who should step up and fill the empty roster slots.

Here's what the NHL roster currently looks like, based on the lines from the Ducks game:

NHL Roster:

Nystrom - Benn - *****
Whitney - Eakin - Eriksson
Smith - ***** - Cole
Tomas Vincour - Fiddler - Roussel

Francis Wathier
Ryan Garbutt (Injured Reserve)

Dillon - Robidas
Goligoski - Daley
Rome - Larsen

Jordie Benn

Unless Garbutt is fine and the Stars play Roussel at center, logic says at least one extra forward has to be recalled before the Anaheim game.

AHL possibilities:

Scott Glennie
Tom Wandell (if healthy)
Colton Sceviour
Alex Chiasson
Travis Morin
Matt Fraser

It will be interesting to see which strategy the Dallas Stars take here. I've been told the Stars want to have Brenden Dillon, Cody Eakin, Smith, Roussel, Vincour and possibly Larsen in the AHL playoffs -- but that's just not going to be possible. I think Smith, Roussel and maybe Vincour are the ones that will actually get sent down and then called back up, but that leaves just one additional callup and that extra spot at center remains.

As far as actual line combinations, the good news is that we're almost certain to finally see some young players get extensive playing time in the top six.

The final 13 games of the season are going to be interesting, no matter what, but the next few days will show us a Dallas Stars team having to jump through some very interesting roster hoops to finish out the season.

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