Check out this quote from Anaheim GM Bob Murray:
"(We are in) a hard division and the whole Western Conference is difficult. Going up against LA, San Jose and even Dallas, I think Dallas is on the way now, our middle had to get stronger." [USA Today]
Either Murray got confused and thought Dallas was still in the Pacific Division, or he's acknowledging that the Stars are now a force to be reckoned with in the Western Conference. He wouldn't be alone in saying that. The general consensus would have the Stars solidly now in the mix, and grading all 30 teams on their free agency performance, Puck Daddy gave the Stars a solid A. The only teams to do better? The Los Angeles Kings and St. Louis Blues.
Also at Puck Daddy, Ryan Lambert had nothing but praise for what's happening in Dallas:
"There aren't going to be too many teams that can go toe-to-toe with them for 60 minutes, especially given how fast they get up and down the ice.
Gotta take your hat off here. Jim Nill demolished July 1. You wish your GM did anywhere near this well. No bad deals, only great ones. Golly." [Puck Daddy]
In fact, it's pretty funny browsing Lambert's Twitter account from Tuesday:
man the stars are gonna be good next year— ryan lambert (@twolinepass) July 1, 2014
hemsky to dallas good lordddddd— ryan lambert (@twolinepass) July 1, 2014
dallas is a top-four team in the west now— ryan lambert (@twolinepass) July 1, 2014
Have the Stars gained a new fan?
* * *
I love this article. I loved the re-signing of Vernon Fiddler to begin with, but when the guy says this: "Honestly, I had better offers. But I wanted to stay with this team and finish the job," I love it even more. Seriously, this was a guy who was going to 'test the waters' of free agency, and ended up turning his back on it to play for this Stars club. That's kinda cool. [Sports Day DFW]
What does it all mean? Looking at the Dallas signings this past week, and what that means for the team. [On the Radar]
Meet the new head coach of the Texas Stars. [100 Degree Hockey]
Alex Chiasson says all the expected things about his excitement to be joining the Senators organization, how great Ottawa is, how fun it'll be to play for a Canadian team, yada yada yada. Just kidding. I miss him. [Ottawa Sun]
How to survive as a new goalie in Vancouver. [Canucks Army]
Yeah, I totally missed this one on Tuesday. Former Dallas Star Jussi Jokinen ended up signing with the Florida Panthers. You just watch. They're gonna be the Colorado Avalanche of the East next season. Or they'll be awful. One of the two. [Litter Box Cats]
'The Jason Spezza robbery.' I think I like that name for the trade... Down Goes Brown's weekly Grab Bag. [Grantland]
And lastly, while I will still be writing them occasionally in the future, today is my last day writing Links as 'the Links guy.' Which means it's time for me to get all over-emotional and sappy... or just say that I've really enjoyed getting to weigh in on Dallas Stars hockey with you guys pretty much every day for the past year, and I'm looking forward to continuing to do that, albeit in a different capacity.
And on that note, I'm passing the baton to you, Robert!