The Dallas Stars remained quiet on the day of the actual NHL Trade Deadline, deciding to not make any further moves after shipping out Jaromir Jagr, Derek Roy and Tomas Vincour. The Stars that will take the ice tonight in Anaheim will look familiar but will be very, very different as a whole -- make no mistake, this franchise has suffered some incredible upheaval in the past year or so and Tuesday's trades were the exclamation point on change.
Being a Dallas Stars fan on this day is difficult, as this is the first time in 20 years that the Stars are looking at a full rebuild in the face. Nieuwendyk and company attempted to juggle two objectives at once -- rebuild while remaining competitive -- and after failing at one have gone nearly all-in on the other.
The good news is that this is a rebuild that is already further along than most, with Jamie Benn and Loui Eriksson forming the core around which a new team will be built. Part of the trades on Tuesday was acquiring further pieces for that rebuild, and while many of us understand the big picture and what it all means -- this is still a very difficult day for the Stars fanbase overall.
Stars CEO and President Jim Lites understands this and has released an open letter to the fans, which explains the rationale behind the moves that were made. The letter states, in part:
First, one of the most difficult things hockey teams have to do at this time of the year is weigh their chances of competing for the Stanley Cup against the existing market place for veteran players, particularly veteran unrestricted free agents. In our case, Brenden Morrow, Jaromir Jagr, and Derek Roy were all unrestricted free agents after this season. That meant that we may only have been able to keep them for 12 or so more regular season games. Faced with that prospect, over the course of the last week, each player was purchased from us for solid, young prospects and/or draft picks. Believe me, we did our best to maximize the value for each player and did the best we could for the future of the Dallas Stars.
Secondly, we feel that by taking the steps we have, we are turning our franchise over to the next generation of players...led by Kari Lehtonen, Jamie Benn and Loui Eriksson. We intend to surround them with quality veteran players and individuals, but our future will be in the hands of our young gun players like Cody Eakin, Brenden Dillon, Jamie Oleksiak, Reilly Smith, Alex Chiasson, Brett Ritchie, Joe Morrow, Jack Campbell, Radek Faksa, Kevin Connauton, Cody Payne, John Klingberg, Patrik Nemeth, etc...and those we draft in June with the 3 extra draft picks we have acquired in the first two rounds.
With all that said, we know we are a stronger franchise today than we were two weeks ago, and built for the future. Our AHL franchise, the Texas Stars, continues to lead the entire American Hockey League (AHL) with a record of 39-17-11. Our trades this week solidify that franchise and position us for a terrific shot at the Calder Cup, the second hardest trophy to win in pro hockey! At the same time, we, as management, and you as fans, will get a great look at several of our younger players at the NHL level over the last three weeks of the season.
More on the trade deadline and all of these moves, and what they mean for this franchise moving forward, tomorrow.