It's time for another Twitter Mailbag, full of challenging and exciting questions. Let's dive in.
@DefendingBigD Nill's next major change: roster or staff?— Chris Lewis (@CJL2012) January 13, 2015
Roster, simply because I don't think Jim Nill is the sort that will change assistant coaches in the middle of a season. If the goaltending continues to tank that may change, but right now the easy money is on the next big change coming through the trade market -- and you have to believe the Stars will be active in that arena.
@DefendingBigD How would you solve the backup goalie problem? FOLLOW UP: Why have the Stars had such bad luck in that department?— Shanny (@Shannysland) January 13, 2015
I'd draft better goaltenders and I'd have done that about seven years ago. The Stars went for broke by going after Jack Campbell early on in the draft in 2010, a decision that continues to haunt this franchise every time he's on the bench while Jussi Rynnas gets a start for the Texas Stars. Campbell could still round into form and realize the potential that made him a first-round draft pick, but right now the signs aren't encouraging.
The Stars also struck out on Tyler Beskorowany, drafted in the 2nd round (Editor's Note: 2nd overall would be much, much worse) in 2008, and Richard Bachman was the closest backup the Stars drafted and developed since Mike Smith was traded. At one point the Stars were a goaltender factory for the NHL and now it's draft bust after draft bust followed by poor decisions in free agency. Consider this list of backup goaltenders for the Stars since Mike Smith:
Also note that Bachman (2011) and Ellis (2013) were the only backups to have a save percentage over .900. How many on that list were developed internally? Climie and Bachman, and Climie was a free agent signing. The Stars are trying to fix this situation but it takes time to develop goaltenders, and constantly going to the free agency well hasn't worked out so far.
The Stars have Phillipe Desrosiers and Maxime Lagace in the pipeline and both look...promising...but the simple truth is that good goaltenders are tough to find and good backups are even harder to find -- and almost always come from within the system. So....draft better?
@DefendingBigD with Kari struggling this year and no prospects looking NHL ready in the next 1 1/2 seasons what's the plan for the stars?— Garrett Heller (@Gheller77) January 13, 2015
Hope he improves. We're going to have a full feature on this soon.
@DefendingBigD How and when will we obtain the Goaltender of the future?— Richard Bone (@BoneWins) January 13, 2015
Lehtonen is that goaltender of the future, with three years left on his contract after this season. See above.
@DefendingBigD How many points do you think it will take to get into the West playoffs this year?— Chris Mac (@thechrismac) January 13, 2015
95, and that's my answer every season. 91 was a fluke and should be treated as such.
@DefendingBigD What potential outside free agents could be potential targets?— Sam Gaston (@Sam__Gaston) January 13, 2015
Lots of potential here. Cody Franson is a possibility, along with Jeff Petry on defense. For the forwards, I can't even begin to hazard a guess. Logic tells me that with the younger players developing and with Nichushkin and Nemeth returning from injury, there won't be many holes that need direct filling -- at least in the top six or even top nine. So...insert random and surprising gritty veteran here.
@DefendingBigD which player will have the biggest long term impact for the Stars from the 2010 draft?— Matt McCary (@ItMatters91) January 13, 2015
John Klingberg or Patrik Nemeth. Likely will be Klingberg, although both will have an impact in completely different ways.
@DefendingBigD Its been an uneven season so far, but if you could take one thing that inspire optimism for the next years, what would it be?— Sylvain LeBrun (@slebrun91) January 13, 2015
That Tyler Seguin continues to get better and better, and he's only 22 years old.