The Dallas Stars are a solid team. They aren't great, but they aren't bad. They are 7th in the NHL in close score Fenwick percentage which suggests that they should be winning their fair share of games. They also do enough things poorly that they haven't been able to take advantage of their favorable Fenwick. The special teams have been mediocre (though trending up lately), the goaltending has been average overall, and the defense has been spotty.
So as we enter February the Stars are in the unenviable position of not being definitively a buyer or a seller. The trade deadline is ten days after the Olympics conclude. The Olympics begin in about a week. The Stars circumstances dictating the direction they should take are unlikely to change drastically in such a short period of time.
The Stars are legit contenders for the Wild Card spots in the Western Conference. Minnesota and Vancouver currently sit in those two spots, with 64 and 63 points respectively. The Coyotes are ahead of the Stars with 60 points, who currently have 56. Nashville and Winnipeg are on their heels with 56 and 55 points. The Stars have two games in hand on the Jets, Predators, and Wild and one game in hand over the Canucks.
The Stars have nine games to go before they reach the deadline. 18 potential points are available. Four of the nine are against the Western Conference. Two of those are against the Ducks and Sharks. Two are against the Coyotes with whom they are fighting for the last Wild Card spot. The Eastern Conference foes they face include the currently out of the playoffs Sabres, Devils, and Blue Jackets.
The road won't be easy, but the Stars could be in a playoff spot when the deadline passes if they can take care of business with the Coyotes. If they can inch closer or even stay where they are what direction do the Stars take?
The Stars have a deep farm system available with which they can make trades to bolster the NHL lineup. If they decide to fill some holes they have the ammo to make it happen. The convenient thing about the Stars current roster is that they could explore numerous avenues for improvement. There is no one area that couldn't use improvement save goaltending. I suppose the Stars could improve their backup goaltender, but that wouldn't be very meaningful.
If they choose to sell they have any number of appealing pieces available to other clubs. Ray Whitney and Vernon Fiddler would make interesting rentals. Sergei Gonchar and Erik Cole would be nice pieces to clubs who want a veteran they can hold on to for an extra season. His name hasn't been seriously mentioned yet, but Rich Peverley would likely bring back a good return if made available also.
The Stars have emphasized building for the future so it's unlikely that they are going to give up a ton for a rental. Other than that they could pursue any number of options for improving the roster. But assume they stay right where they are give or take two points in either direction. Should the Stars sell, buy, or take a path right down the middle? Cast your vote below and stay tuned as we probe the question about what the Stars should do throughout the rest of the week.