NHL Free Agency is all but over. The draft has come and gone. The schedule is still to be revealed but after that the hockey world will slumber, rather unfortunately, until the early days of September. Ordinarily it's an irritating proposition. Given what happened last fall, however, the certainty this September brings is at least comforting in comparison.
Meanwhile, with a host of new prospects flooding the NHL's system and feeder leagues, the Stars see themselves rising in the eyes of those "in the know."
8. Dallas Stars
Dallas adding winger Valeri Nichushkin in the 2013 draft was a big move for this system, and the Stars have a lot of other good pieces in addition. Brett Ritchie and Jamie Oleksiak had good years, but 2012 first round pick Radek Faksa was only average, perhaps disappointingly so. Still, the quality depth in the Stars' system is very good. [Hockey Prospectus]
With Nichushkin and Alex Chiasson likely to "graduate" this season, and Oleksiak (and possibly Ritchie) not far behind in the years to come, this ranking will take a hit as they move forward, but in the moment right now it's one of many signals that the Stars have both quality and quantity on the cusp.
Joe Nieuwendyk and his staff, though they've had their misses, should get a lot of credit for that.
Stephen wrote over the weekend at Hundred Degree Hockey about the loss of Matt Fraser and Reilly Smith at the AHL level: "Obviously the loss of the all-time leading goal scorer in Fraser and one of the team's top points-per-game producers in Smith is a pretty rough one-two punch. However, there is talent coming along the pipe, some of which was previewed such as Brett Ritchie." [Hundred Degree Hockey]
Speaking of the AHL level, Richard Bachman looks destined to be there next season full time as he's signed with the Edmonton Oilers and appears to be third on the depth chart behind Devan Dubnyk and Jason LaBarbera [theAHL.com]
Even though the Senators are not said to be "in" on Jaromir Jagr right now, I like this piece from the Ottawa Sun because the entire impetus of it seems to be that it would be fun to get him to Ottawa just to spite the Montreal Canadiens. [Ottawa Sun]
Colaiacovo, Douglas Murray, Tom Gilbert, Filip Kuba, Tomas Kaberle... All defensemen still left standing while Adam Pardy was already snatched by the Jets ;) . Also still out there on the list of free agents: Brenden Morrow. [Cap Geek]
Shoaltsy offers his opinions on what's still out there. (Brunner...) [The Globe]
The cheap and easy story line coming out of Buffalo these days is that the Sabres reacquired Henrik Tallinder just for the purposes of fixing its once young superstar, Tyler Myers. You know, the same reason the Stars supposedly acquired Sergei Gonchar (Goligoski) except probably not. [Puck Daddy]