While much of the Twitter world is abuzz with free agent and trade rumors plausible and, well, not-so-much, I'd like to take a look back at the players who are still firmly in control of the Dallas Stars.
The Stars handed out most of the offers to restricted free agents earlier this week, headlined by the obvious offers to players like Jamie Benn, Philip Larsen and Richard Bachman.
But it's the lone RFA decision that has yet to be made that has caught the eye of Mike Heika, who wrote a column about the decisions that, as of Tuesday night, was still free at DallasNews.com. After going through all the moves that were made, he spends the last half of the article or so talking about Tom Wandell, the last major Stars RFA who has not been qualified.
However, Wandell is also a `tweener, in that he has not proven to be strong enough to be a No. 2 center in the NHL, and he has not proven physical, experienced or smart enough to be a great checker. He averaged 9:44 in ice time last season, had 15 points (6G, 9A) and was minus-5. He was part of the team’s faceoff problems, winning 43.5% of his draws.
So then the question becomes: Would his $892,500 be better spent on an upgrade in the center spot?
After the jump, how the Stars might go about acquiring players in the next few weeks, NHL scouting directors admit that big hits on late-round players are essentially luck and no player movement but lots of player news around the league.
- Bob Sturm took a break from his duties at The Ticket to ponder just how the Stars might go about changing up their roster this summer. [Fox Sports Southwest]
- There's a lot of optimism about Curt Fraser as the new assistant coach, but his tenure with the Grand Rapids Griffins was decidedly mixed. [MLive]
- It's been more than two months since we've heard Razor call the snot out of a Stars game, and if you were going through withdrawl, he made an appearance on the Puck Daddy podcast on Monday. Razor's visit starts about a half-hour into the podcast. [Puck Daddy]
- This article about how the Stars dug up Jamie Benn in the fifth round is great and well worth your time. It includes the quote from one of Benn's scouting reports, "We’re not sure if he’s really that slow, or he just refuses to move," which is awesome. I also love Les Jackson's first quote. I don't care how good a department you have, getting gems beyond the top few rounds is almost all luck. If you thought he was really that good, you'd take him early and not risk someone else taking a flyer on him before you. Also, epic teenage facial hair alert. This article really does have everything. [DallasStars.com]
- Speaking of late-round picks, want to play the "what might have been" game? Craig Button, then the Stars scouting director, really liked Henrik Zetterberg but was scared off by his small frame. Sob. [Post-Gazette.com]
- The headline on this post from Hundred Degree Hockey says it all, so I'm simply going to quote it. "What to expect from the draft: Texas Stars edition." [Hundred Degree Hockey]
- The AHL loses coaches to the NHL, but they also gain coaches from the ranks of former Dallas Stars players. This time, it's Dean Evason to the Milwaukee Admirals. [On The Forecheck]
- In your pre-free agency example of "good defensemen are freaking expensive," I present Erik Karlsson and his seven-year, $45.5 million extension with the Ottawa Senators. [CBC.ca]
- And in the goalies aren't cheap either category, Josh Harding signed a three-year, $5.7 million extension with the Minnesota Wild. [ESPN]
- The NHL Board of Governors made a couple of minor rule-changes on Tuesday. The first, clarifying what it means to "close your hand on the puck" on the ice shouldn't be of that much consequence, except for maybe the 15 times a game Stephane Robidas seems to end up on top of it. The second, however, penalizing winning a faceoff with your hand, will not go over well with either Steve Ott or Vernon Fiddler, I assume. [Puck Daddy]
- Ted Price does more than just produce the most awesome Dallas Stars podcast on the internet. He also apparently hangs out at the favorite bars of local hockey legends on the most appropriate night of the year. [@TedPrice/@TedPrice/@TedPrice/@TedPrice/@TedPrice]
- Also on Twitter, your favorite Stars past and present give their thoughts on the NBA Finals. [@BrianSutherby/@gollygoose]
- Yes, there is something to be said about the Stars organization as a whole living too much in the past. And the 13-year anniversary of a Stanley Cup win isn't nearly as fun as, say, winning another one. But if you have an hour today, you can relive that 1999 Cup run via the official team video, which I still have lovingly preserved on VHS somewhere in my apartment.