As part of our look back at the season that was, the DBD staff has put together a Top 10 list of the most defining moments of the season, moments that have an impact beyond the scope of just one season. Since most of these happened off the ice and built upon many of the previous moments, they are listed in chronological order.
Remember back when Vincent Lecavalier was going to be the solution to all the Dallas Stars problems at center?
The 34-year-old center had just been bought out of his contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning as was the marquee free agent option for any team with holes up the middle. The Stars, one of those teams after they moved Jamie Benn back to the wing, were even considered a possible favorite landing spot early in July.
But Lecavalier signed with the Flyers, and while the Stars remained committed to keeping Benn at wing, options to fill the center hole seemed scare.
Then the calendar flipped over to July 4, and the entire landscape of the Stars forward makeup changed.
Early in the afternoon, rumors swirled that the Boston Bruins had traded Tyler Seguin and pieces for Loui Eriksson and pieces, though it wasn't at all clear just who those pieces were thanks to some wonderful fake Twitter reports. Seguin had been considered a trade target for the Stars earlier in the summer, but after the draft passed without the Bruins making a move, no one was sure if he was actually available.
Seguin, the former second overall draft pick had fallen out of favor with the Bruins over reported off-ice issues and a low shooting percentage in the preceding playoff run, was officiall traded to the Stars that afternoon in combination with Rich Peverley and prospect defensman Ryan Button for Eriksson, Reilly Smith, Matt Fraser and Joe Morrow.
It was a move that cost Dallas significant pieces - despite his injury issues this season, Eriksson is a heck of a hockey player, and Smith had a breakout year - but certainly changed the Stars for the better.
Seguin was that mythical creature - a young, uber-talented, first-line center under a cap-friendly contract for the long term. Peverley was a utility player who could fill in anywhere on the top three lines who also gave the Stars another player who could take face offs. Both immediately were written in ink into the Stars top six.
Sure, there were question marks, especially about the biggest piece in the deal. There were all sorts of rumors about Seguin's off-the-ice problems, about if his priorities were right for an NHL player. But he was also 21 years old with talent to spare, and even the early Twitter incident couldn't derail the optimism about bringing him to Dallas.
And it paid off in the biggest way, if only for the first year at this point. Seguin set career highs in every offensive category imaginable and formed a deadly partnership with Jamie Benn on his wing. He settled into the community as well, starting a program that brought disabled fans to hockey games through Seguin's Stars, and he became a public face of the team.
Peverley was a huge addition as well, becoming a utility player that Lindy Ruff moved around to whatever line needed a defensive stabilizing presence. He also took some of the younger players, like rookie Alex Chiasson, under his win.
The move was the exclamation point on the summer of moves that saw Nill turn over 30 percent of the Stars every-night roster through draft picks, trades and free agency. It was a high-risk, high-reward move of the boldest stroke, the type Stars fans had been dying to see from the front office since the prolonged playoff drought began.