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Dallas Stars Daily Links: Picking a Number One Defenseman

Who is the best candidate to become the Stars' first number one since number fifty-six? Also, a Caps prospect scores an incredible goal, the Flyers make incredibly cowardly decisions, and Jere Lehtinen is honored by the people of his native land.

"There he is.  That's the guy they want."
"There he is. That's the guy they want."
Christian Petersen

There's a lot of talk about the Dallas defense lately.  Most people seem to agree that it's the thing holding the Stars back from that upper echelon of "really good teams, man" that they're aspiring to.  No surprises here, you probably skipped the second half of that sentence already.  Today, though, I was wondering something a little bit different.

Who on the Stars' roster has the best chance at stepping up and headlining this defense in a big way?

That isn't necessarily who's going to be the top defender this season--I think we're all prepared for some average defending over the long haul, with some cautious optimism in the pantry if we need to go get it after 20 games--but rather, which of the many defensemen so often discussed would you hang your hat on as "the guy" for Dallas over the next few years?

Gologoski has really been that guy over the last few years despite the beating he's taken from fans and coaches alike.  But it is clear that he is (probably) not going to be a Drew Doughty in Dallas, and I think a lot of places have done a good job of recognizing that fact while also realizing just how well Goose does play.  The Neal trade might soon be the Gologoski trade, and that's not a small thing.  I'll just say it: we're better off now because of that trade.

Dillon is in the spotlight right now, and his value is being looked at from many different angles.  He fills a crucial role for Dallas, one that none of the kids seems ready to step up and take quite yet.  His agent is certainly touting this fact, but the phrase you hear more often is "top four" rather than "number one," even if Dillon is a top blueliner in a lot of ways for the Stars.  And no matter how good he is, you really want to see more offensive production than he's displayed so far to hold him up among the league's best.  Can he make that jump?

The kids, well, they are the kids.  Derek, Wes and everyone have done a good job of looking at their various potential and the possibility of Dallas roles for them, but there's always something that gives you pause when you start to hold one of them up as the great defensive hope for the rebellion.

Jokipakka is better than anyone was expecting, but that's just the thing.  He's been surprisingly good, and it's tough to pin all your hopes on someone primarily because of a great training camp showing.  You might well ask, then, what is the point of training camp if you can't use it to evaluate your players?  I would then respond, well, have you tried the salad bar tonight?  It is just great.  And hey, speaking of how training camp can be misleading when it comes to evaluating young players...

Oleksiak is, well, maybe actually doing really well?  I'll have a tough time erasing the image of Jamie erasing Kari by means of propelling a large human right into his face, but if the coaches are on board, then maybe this 21-year-old has another level that we haven't really noticed yet.  I am definitely okay with rooting for Oleksiak.  It would be very good if he succeeds!

Honka is young and already really good and taller than I am.  But he's 18, and he reminded us of that a couple times during camp.  These aren't the Glen Gulutzan Stars anymore.  We can wait for him to Get Smart, but how patient will the Stars be with him?

John Klingberg has really faded back into chorus line after a summer solo.  The hot pick of the off-season also showed his naivete a couple of times during meaningless games, and it bears mentioning that he's had some tough luck with his health.  Can we really say that this is a guy who is going to anchor the blueline of a cup contender?

So, yeah.  I've basically just rephrased a lot of what you've read over the past few days and thrown it into bullets. It reads like a bad sample ballot that you get in the mail before your real ballot, which you won't even open until Tuesday morning breakfast because your civic-mindedness is very important to you, for those four minutes.  Also, that "I voted" sticker.

Now it's time to do that.  Vote, I mean.  Yes, that's right.  Just like any great free country, we're asking you, the ill-informed populace without some of the crucial information, to choose the player most likely to become a number one defenseman within the next three years.  We're talking about one of those players that NBC Sports commentators actually recognize; a guy that can be trusted to run a powerplay; a guy who will put his team on his back and maybe even come up with a new hockey cliche of his own for once.  We're running low.

This isn't a "default" number one or "best defenseman available."   We're asking you to make a bold prediction about who might become That Guy.  So, check out The Poll at the end of this piece and let us know.  Who could be the Stars' "True Number One" defenseman by 2017?

* * * * *

A lotta Stars stuff out there today.  That's why they call it Thursday, I guess.  Wrong.  That's not why at all.

Jere Lehtinen was honored in Finland as Espoo retired his #10 sweater.  (I assume they don't have the number 26 in Finland yet.)  I love Jere, but I think I am okay with the "passive retirement" the Stars have done with his and Zubov's numbers thus far.  Maybe I'm just being too snobbish about retired sweaters though.  [THN]

Jim Nill and Brenden Dillon's agent "had some good talks" Tuesday according to Pierre LeBrun.  [Twitter]

Mike Heika did a live chat with live people yesterday.  He answered questions for all the world to see.  [DMN]

Here is an article about the "risk factors" for Dallas.  Can you guess what they think the riskiest defense of the defense might defense risk factor for defense Dallas be?  [Pro Hockey Talk]

Josh Bogorad has his latest "On the Radar" piece up for the Stars' website.  This time he goes over the deep system in Dallas and reminds us that most of those guys from training camp we were sad to see sent down will play in the NHL this season at some point, because injuries and slumps basically always happen.  Wow, total buzzkill there, Josh. [Stars]

Rick Gosselin also thinks Dallas might be lacking a key ingredient. Guess what.  [DMN]

What might the ripple effects be of the Stars' sending Honka to the AHL?  I would here like to brag that I know like nine different WHL teams just off the top of my head.  I will not name them here, but I know them.  [Buzzing the Net]

Derek Laxdal and the Texas Stars are in full training camp mode.  He talks about Honka's game, and Honka resists saying that he shouldn't have to do this camp because he was already at "big boy camp."  [100 Degree Hockey]

Could Dallas be a future rival of the Avalanche again, for the first time?  Maybe.  Could we also find out more about the mysterious "Eric Johnson" mentioned in this article?  I have never heard of him before.  [The Hockey Writers]

The Ducks have invited Hilary Knight to practice with them in Anaheim Friday, which could be pretty cool.  Hey, remember Manon Rheaume? [Ducks]

The Flyers reneged on their choice to get rid of ice girls because lots of people booed when fully-dressed men came out to clean the ice.  I think Philly has effectively bungled this situation as much as they possible could have.  Maybe more. [THN]

Washington prospect Stan Galiev scored a fantastically beautiful goal.  As RMNB puts it:  "Galiev does a 360, passes the puck to himself, goes through two defenders, and then snipes the puck to the top right corner of the net."  That is an accurate description, and you should check this out right now.  [Russian Machine Never Breaks]

The Islanders have been sold for real, as the NHL Board of Governors approved the transaction.  Charles Wang will still be the one in the room with kind of terrible ideas, but now, no one will have to listen to him.  Well, "now" as in, when the interest officially transfers.  You know what I mean.  [NHL.com]

Down Goes Brown does Part Three of their season preview, and this one includes the Stars and the Sharks.  How stoked would Dallas have been to be placed in the same group as San Jose two years ago?  It is called the "No Clue Division," though. [Grantland]

Finally, a real treat.  A video from the Jere Lehtinen number retirement ceremony in Finland.  It even starts with a Modano video tribute.  This is some sweet stuff right here: