With the 2013 NHL Draft just hours away, intrigue as to what the Stars are planning for and hoping to accomplish continues to mount. The Dallas Stars are seemingly involved in nearly every major rumor and point of speculation regarding discussions happening in New Jersey this weekend, as is to be expected from a team that has made it known they want to be aggressive in improving both in the short term and the long term.
The 33-year old veteran center had an hour long meeting with the Dallas Stars braintrust on Saturday, an event that caused a heck of a stir with the fanbase. There is a good chance that if Lecavalier would come to Dallas, this would open the gates for Jamie Benn to move back to left wing and the Stars would almost instantly jump right back into playoff contention.
Yet Lecavalier also met with eight or nine other teams on Saturday, and is scheduled to meet with Calgary on Sunday morning, and the Stars are just one of a handful of teams heavily competing for his services. The Stars are at a disadvantage in some ways and not so much in others; while the Stars may not be the marquee destination as Montreal or Washington might be, the Stars also have cap space to work with and could be willing to get into a bit of a bidding war for his services. The question right now, however, is just what sort of contract he's looking for.
Word is that Lecavalier would like to make a decision very soon, and he'll come up with a short list of teams after today.
Forget Seth Jones, please
The Dallas Stars side of the internet was set ablaze on Saturday when Mac Engel launched himself into the conversation by tweeting the ridiculous rumor that the Stars were looking to package a deal to move up to draft Seth Jones, and that Loui Eriksson was on the table. The Dallas Stars are not going to just trade away Eriksson in order to move up in the draft, even for a player like Seth Jones -- Eriksson is arguably on perhaps the most valuable contract in the NHL at just $4.25 million for the next three years.
This is also a team that needs more than just Seth Jones, and mortgaging this draft and future first round draft picks would be a foolhardy move. The Seth Jones dream is a nice one, but there are going to be other players available that can also have a significant impact on this franchise. Which brings me to...
Trading Up -- Carolina's Pick Is Available
Carolina has 3 offers for the 5th pick and expects to have 5 or 6 trade options to consider. Decision likely just before first selection.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) June 30, 2013
Now, they also know this team's needs and when a player might be able to move quickly into the NHL and fill an immediate need. Because of that, I believe they are interested in jumping up if it means they can get a center like Sean Monahan or Elias Lindholm. The two are slated to go around fifth or sixth, and both Carolina (fifth) and Calgary (sixth) have made it clear that their picks are in play. The Stars would be open to moving one of their veteran defensemen (Alex Goligoski, Trevor Daley or Stephane Robidas) if another team is seeking immediate help. Daley and Robidas have limited no-trade clauses, while Goligoski's no-trade doesn't kick in until July 1, so there could have to be some quick phone work, but it will be interesting to see how this day plays out. Bottom line, the Stars have eight defensemen since adding Sergei Gonchar and stating they want Kevin Connauton on the NHL roster, so something has to change back there.
This right here is going to be the source of the most intrigue surrounding the Dallas Stars at this draft. Word on the street is the Stars are very interested in doing what it takes in order to select Elias Lindholm, and it seems they could have a willing partner in Carolina in the fifth spot. The trade would involve moving a top four defenseman and likely another prospect or fringe roster player, a price that certainly seems reasonable for moving up to a top five spot in this deep of a draft.
Heika also makes it known that the Stars are also interested in moving up much higher from No. 29 to around No. 20 or so, but would also be content sticking with the picks they have and drafting off the top of their draft board. Jim Nill is apparently very confident in the level of player that will still be available to them at No. 10, and we've seen how -- even in 2003 -- a top-five draft pick is nowhere near a certain thing. It's all about value, and the Stars have to make the tough decisions on just what value they're willing to give up to move up.
The Stars may not make a splash, but that's not a bad thing
There's a certain level of excitement with Dallas Stars fans this weekend that hasn't existed in quite some time, and that's likely led to some unrealistic expectations of just what Jim Nill can accomplish. The new Dallas Stars front office has been very proactive and aggressive this summer and there are many who are saying this is a team and a general manager that are starting to be taken very seriously when it comes to potential moves that could be made.
Jim Nill, as the new Stars general manager, is finally getting to put his extensive front office experience to full use. He's very familiar with the general managers and front offices around the league and it seems he's certainly acting more aggressive than the previous regime in trying to make something happen. While the Dallas Stars were certainly financially capable of getting more involved last summer, this is the first time that the Stars have truly become "part of the conversation" when it comes to the top stories and speculation around the league.
That's all very exciting, but we should also understand what to expect. Nill is being proactive this weekend but absolutely will not fall victim to making a bad value decision just because the Dallas Stars need to "make a splash" this summer. Nill has to be smart about these decisions and many times it's out of his control; if Lecavalier chooses an East Coast team, at least the Stars did what they could to try and get him.
Improving this team, and improving Dallas as a more desirable location for prime free agents, isn't going to just be about how much is spent on free agent contracts. It's going to be about improving the team through the draft and trades as well, with the best method of doing so coming through success on the ice -- and ultimately the playoffs.
It's clear the Dallas Stars have their eyes set on the postseason this year and won't be happy with another "transition" of a season -- this is about the future, for sure, but this is a team that is also focused on getting back to winning much sooner than later.
Not much longer.