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The Future of Marty Turco & Those Trade Rumors...

To start with, if anyone has been reading  Defending Big D over the past year then you know that we don't like to run with unsubstantiated rumors. Yesterday we posted a practice update that had some very iffy speculation about a Capitals scout being at practice yesterday. We noted it as such, and I trust no one took that as fact. Pure speculation is all that was.

Today breeds a whole different level of trade talk.

This past weekend, several online publications and hockey television analysts stated that the Dallas Stars are preparing to move on without Marty Turco. Now this is hardly surprising news; the future of Turco with the Dallas Stars has been in doubt since the start of the season. Yet now it's being reported as if this is a fact: the Dallas Stars are moving on without him.

When the season began, the big issue was whether Turco would play well enough to ingratiate himself with the new coach and general manager and work towards possibly getting an extension with the Stars either midseason or before the trade deadline began. Over the past month, Turco's play has increasingly regressed. While the defense in front of him has been far from perfect, it's safe to say that the time has come where we can conclude that Turco most likely doesn't have a role in the future of this franchise.

After the jump, we'll analyze a number of the rumors that have popped up lately and look at the possible routes the Stars could take moving forward.

The Stars are not happy with Marty Turco, and justified or not it appears that a lot of blame is being laid at his feet. The team in front of him certainly hasn't been at its best, but it's hard to argue that when the Stars are playing hard and getting some momentum built the plethora of soft goals allowed at the worst times has been completely demoralizing for this team.

The good news in all of this is that the Stars have Alex Auld as the backup to Marty Turco, and it appears as if the Stars are willing to give him a shot at taking the starting position, at least in the short term.  There are 14 games remaining before the trade deadline passes, and the Stars are entering some crucial decision making time when it comes to Turco.

The first option is for the Stars to trade him to a team looking for veteran netminder help heading into the playoffs. With scenarios like this, the Stars are operating with their hand showing and there's no way the team will get the big value most fans would hope for. If the Stars do trade Turco, then it will most likely be as part of a package deal if the team hopes to get max value out of the trade. At one point it looked as if Philadelphia could be a willing trade partner, but they now have a backlog of quality goaltenders.

The other option is to just allow Marty Turco to walk and sign elsewhere in free agency.

Both options leave the Stars with a hole in net; while Auld might have the ability to carry this team for the rest of the season, any trade regarding Marty Turco will have to eventually result in the future No. 1 goaltender coming back to the Stars.

Today on his blog, Mike Heika covers the Turco situation as best he can with this caveat:

So when some out there say that Marty Turco will not be re-signed and could be available at the trade deadline, I need to get that from somebody within the organization who agrees to be a ``source'' and agrees to know that my editors know that person is the ``source.''

That's not something people who are trying to stay anonymous want to do, so I have not been able to confirm these reports.

He mentions that he is unable to get any confirmation on the reports about Turco's future (not surprising) and goes on to list several goaltenders that the Stars could target. He mentions, in no particular order:

Jaroslav Halak
Corey Schneider
Kari Lehtonen
Pekka Renne
Dan Ellis
Mike Smith (!)
Jhonas Enroth
Leland Irving
Justin Peters

All as possible trade targets. He does a great job of breaking each one down, so please head on over and his excellent blog post. 

Obviously, there are any number of possibilities here, but it's important to remember that the Stars are in the market for their 'goaltender of the future'. Are one of these goaltenders what the Stars are looking for, and most importantly are they obtainable for the Stars? The first choice for any Stars fan would be Halak, but at this point it's likely he's just too rich for the Stars. Schneider is an interesting option and could be had for a decent price, but Lehtonen scares me.

The next question is how much you are willing to give up to trade for one of these young goaltenders. Chances are that the Stars are not going to be making a big run into the playoffs if a trade is made, so do the Stars necessarily have to wager their future in a trade? There's a good chance that some high-level prospects will have to be given up to get a top goaltender in a trade, and you have to wonder if that's worth losing Jame Benn, Ivan Vishnevskiy, Colton Sceviour or Scott Glennie just to ensure you have a No.1 goaltender for the last month or so of the season.

The Stars could conceivably trade Turco to get value for a player they'll lose anyway, and ride Alex Auld and most likely Matt Climie for the rest of the season. Then the Stars would target a number of free agent netminders this summer, most notably Jason LaBarber and Ty Conklin.

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The direction the Stars take is going to rely on a number of factors, the least of which starts tonight with Alex Auld being given the chance to take over in net. We are approaching a new era in Stars hockey and the first big move is close to going down. Whether it involves Turco is still up in the air, but Auld getting the short term nod speaks volumes as to where this franchise is headed.