Tom Gaglardi is a big hockey fan. Most of what you read about him espouses the fact that he is heavily invested in his team's success in a very visceral way. While some teams in this area (not to mention any names) can sometimes suffer from excessive tinkering by their owners, Gaglardi has seemed to make it very clear that he primarily operates by way of his employees. That is, he trusts his people.
Even after a season that failed to fulfill the primary dream of Stars fans from Gaglardi on down, the franchise's owner is still keeping his eye on the long-term viability of the success he hopes to see in Dallas. Mike Heika had a great interview with Gaglardi that is much more extensive than the below, but let's pick out a couple of his questions for our purposes today:
What are your feelings about the season and missing the playoffs?
I’m disappointed but excited, let me put it that way. I’m disappointed because we should be a playoff team and it has been an inconsistent season for certain players. But I’m excited because there are some metrics that suggest by the end of the season that we could be one of the best teams in the NHL. From a scoring chance differential, since December, we’re the No. 1 team in the NHL, I believe. I think our team is better than some teams that are in the playoffs, and that’s disappointing, and yet you can’t wait to get started next year.
What does the 14-5-0 run to end the season tell you about the team?
I don’t think I realized our team is in as good a shape as it is. We have to be more committed to defense, and we learned that this year, and it was a really hard lesson that was difficult to teach. A young group of guys, you can tell them until you’re blue in the face, but until they fail, they’re not going to believe you. So now they understand what we have to do, and I think they are going to come back committed to defense. The focus coming into camp is all about defense.
Are you excited about the prospects of a young defense? You had three rookies on defense this season in John Klingberg, Jyrki Jokipakka and Patrik Nemeth, and they seem to be the core of the defense for next season.
If you look at our defensive core, it was better in Game 82 than in Game 1, so that’s a positive. A year ago, did we think Jokipakka was an everyday player in this league? We didn’t know. Now, we believe that. Nemeth, we know he can play in the league. Losing Nemeth [who missed most of the season with an arm laceration] hurt us more than anyone can know, and now we understand what he can contribute. I just feel good about solving a problem by using our own players. I think when you do that, you get long-term answers.
Is the defense an area that could be helped by adding a key free agent?
I think any team that relies on free agents to fix their problems, that’s a bad place to be. I think they can definitely help if you find the right one, but you have to build from within, that’s where the strength is going to come from. I think in a perfect world, you’d go golfing on July 1 (the first day of NHL free agency). I’m not sure if we’re in that spot yet, but I can tell you I like our team and where we’re going. As a rule of thumb, you’re going to pay too much or give too much term to get a free agent. I think it’s more likely that we would be more involved in trade talk to tinker with the makeup of our team. But I’m not uncomfortable starting next season with pretty much what we ended this season with.
Again, there's plenty more in there, so give the whole piece a read.
1. Gaglardi is clear that he isn't planning on a free agent frenzy, but at the same time, that cap space is there for a reason. I don't think this means the Stars won't be busy on July 1st.
2. Jokipakka is an "everyday player" now, so get used to seeing him. Unless you see that as verbal validation in preparation for trading said everyday defenseman.
3. Speaking of which, what does that mean for Jamie Oleksiak? There really isn't room for him with the big club if Jokipakka, Goligoski, Daley, Jordie Benn and Nemeth are all in the lineup. Given his age, I could see Oleksiak being moved this summer, I really could. Obviously he's still so, so young, and you might end up regretting that, but just given the Stars' situation, that's kind of what I can see happening (if they choose to trade a young defenseman at all, of course).
4. Gaglardi refers to scoring chance "metrics" showing the Stars as one of the best teams in the NHL in the second half. He's exactly right on that, for what it's worth. The Stars led the NHL in scoring-chance differential from January 1st onwards.
5. And given that, it's tough to get upset at too many of the coaches. If seeing an issue and then fixing it is a key part of a coach's job--and it is--then you'd have to say Lindy Ruff comes out looking pretty good. Of course, there is one coach who isn't really associated with scoring chances, but goaltending issues are basically an impenetrable enigma, so who even knows what they're going to do in that department?
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I ate an artichoke while watching the third period of Habs/Sens last night. Do you know how much attention an artichoke requires? You have to look at each piece, then dip it, then carefully place it to as to optimize your flesh/bitterness intake. It's nearly impossible to keep up with a high-paced game while eating it. Next time, pizza. Always pizza.
Trading Lehtonen for Cam Ward would be idiotic, so I guess that makes the concept of trading him for Jimmy Howard slightly more plausible, which is to say that it is still remarkably unlikely to ever happen. Besides, why would the Stars trade one goalie coming off a down season for a goalie with a longer contract coming off his own down season? [THN]
Tim Cowlishaw compared Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin to Dez Bryant and DeMarco Murray, then he said that John Klingberg's deal "seems like a lot." Mike Heika is my favorite DMN writer. [DMN]
Sean Leahy on the Klingberger deal. [Puck Daddy]
Ken Campbell says the Stars did a good thing with the Klingberger "years of plenty" contract. [THN]
Chicago has Nashville in trouble after taking a 2-1 series lead yesterday. Shea Weber is out for at least one more game. [NHL]
John Tavares can't take back the Art Ross Trophy with playoff points, but he did score just a heartbeat or ten into overtime to give the Isles a victory in the expiring Nassau Coliseum. [NHL]
Dale Weise went into Ultron mode (I don't know what Ultron is, but I hear he is something else) and scored twice, including the OT winner as the Habs put the Senators on life support in Ottawa. Series is now 3-0 Montreal. [NHL]
Eugene Melnyk took some Ottawa fans under his wing after they suffered physical and verbal abuse in Montreal. [Puck Daddy]
Some Capitals fans also did not have a good experience at Nassau Coliseum on Sunday. No word on whether Ted Leonsis will be hosting an ice cream social for them or somesuch pleasantry. [Driven by Bordeom]
This is a fun bit of rumination on the Draft Lottery. The live footage from a Buffalo bar is pretty priceless. [Hockey Writers]
Erik Karlsson turned up the physicality last night, and none of his hits was better than this one: