With the NHL Draft behind us, the Stars have solved two of their pressing needs for next season with one pick: A top 6 forward and an elite prospect, but where does that leave the team going into Free Agency on Friday? Still lacking a top 2 center, still having too many defensemen on the NHL roster, and still having a murky at best backup goalie situation. Iron out these needs, and the Stars will be playing into late April and May (or even June?!?!) in 2014.
Right now it stands as this
Benn, Loui, Nichushkin, Whitney; These are likely top 6 forwards, you can look at it as either 4 wingers and no centers or 3 wingers and one center, either way, we still need center help, and that is where Vincent LeCavalier comes in.
First off, let me put to rest any doubts that Vinny doesn't have "it" anymore. I watch a lot of Tampa Bay Lightning games, and he most certainly does still have "it", just not enough "it" to be worth that mega contract. But ZWal, why would anybody, especially Vinny, come to DALLAS? Glad you asked, one Vinny is reportedly asking for 5 years at $5 million, the Stars can offer, and beat that, easily. Second, Vinny can be a star here, pun intended, he'd be the guy, probably the captain for the rest of his career (and then we'd know if Benn or Dillon deserved to raise the cup first every year!!!!), he has great wingers to play with, just think of a Benn/Vinny/Nichushkin line!!!!!
So, say we sign Vinny, where does that leave us?
Either way is an obvious improvement for Dallas.
Chiasson/Cole: These are fringe top 6 guys, in a perfect world, they are centered by Eakin on the third line, but could be useful in the top 6 if needed. In fact, even in a perfect offseason, where we sign two centers, Chiasson and Cole will still be called into the top 6 for injuries.
Eakin/Roussel: These are your true third liners, in a perfect world Rooster ends up on the fourth line, but I'm confident in him on the third line if needed, and in case of injuries he will be at some points.
Fiddler/Garbutt: These guys will be fourth liners, hopefully along with Roussel, post-draft, I don't see Fiddler getting moved.
Gonchar, Goligoski, Gaunce, Connauton, Daley, Robidas, Dillon, Rome, Larsen
Gonchar and Dillon are locks
Goligoski and Connauton are near locks
Rome is a near lock for the 7th guy
Robidas could be gone, but more likely at the trade deadline mid-season
Daley and Larsen are still likely gone
Gaunce can earn a spot in camp
Of course, we should be on the lookout for a free agency acquisition, I like Ron Hainsey personally.
So there you have it, the outlook, as of today, for this winter's edition of the Dallas Stars. A lot can and will change on Friday with Free Agency opening up.
Gut feeling right now, will Dallas make the playoffs? Yes.