When the conversation turns to what the Dallas Stars need most this off-season, it usually circles around the same two wish-list items: a big, bruising top-pair defensive defenseman, and a dependable backup goaltender who ideally can play in a 1a-1b tandem with Kari Lehtonen.
But when the discussion turns to forwards, it really gets interesting.
Mike Heika posted his latest "Five Free Agents" list on Friday, this one centering on the forward position:
5 free agent forwards who could help the Dallas Stars next season | @MikeHeika http://t.co/f56lHXRxCo pic.twitter.com/fsqQ2MXrXM— SportsDayDFW (@SportsDayDFW) June 13, 2015
And forwards keep showing up in Stars mock drafts:
- Damien Cox of SportsNet has Dallas picking center Mathew Barzal at #12.
- While both Adam Kimelman and Mike G. Morreale of NHL.com see Jim Nill punching a card for right wing Timo Meier.
- MyNHLDraft.com calls it for center Kyle Connor.
- And the Stars rep in The Hockey Writers' mock draft — i.e., Defending Big D staffer Derek Neumeier — chooses center Pavel Zacha.
(DraftUtopia dares to be different, boldly predicting that the Stars choose defender Zach Werenski.)
Given the Stars' embarrassment of riches among talented forwards at both the NHL and prospect levels, the focus on shoring up those positions may seem odd. But Derek's DBD post from last Friday shows that the organization may have a critical shortage of right wings in the near future.
In that scenario, does the Meier pick begin to look more like a foregone conclusion? Or might the Stars choose the best available center (the most responsible position) who can also play on the wing?
There will be no shortage of opinions, so let's have yours.
This happened last night.
The @AllenAmericans are the 2015 Kelly Cup champions with a 6-1 win over @SCStingrays in Game 7 of #KellyCupFinals pic.twitter.com/sy3DCEZoux— ECHL (@ECHL) June 14, 2015
And this happened on Saturday.
The @MonarchsHockey are 2015 #CalderCup champs! Full recap & highlights → http://t.co/uR20CK039l. pic.twitter.com/aUv2yuXjy7— AHL (@TheAHL) June 14, 2015
Congratulations to the Allen Americans and the Manchester Monarchs for their Cup wins.
Mark Stepneski continues his five-part series on 60 top 2015 NHL draft picks: Part 3 is out now. In case you missed them, here are links to Part 1 and Part 2. [Stars Inside Edge]
On video, the 2015 Dallas Stars Draft Roundtable (#StarsDraft) debuts Thursday, June 18. In the meantime, host Josh Bogorad is rolling out some nifty Stars Draft Minutes as previews. You can see them all via the Stars app or in their homepage multimedia console. The first one is always free: Here, Bruce LeVine breaks down what a Jim Nill draft looks like.
This is the second time in #StanleyCup history that the first 5 games have all been decided by 1 goal.— NHL on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) June 14, 2015
For the 1st time in NHL history, there has not been a multi-goal lead AT ANY POINT in the opening 5 games of the #StanleyCup Final #TBLvsCHI— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) June 14, 2015
Antoine Vermette may have singlehandedly won the March trade deadline for the Chicago Blackhawks. [NHL]
The Bolts' Valtteri Filppula is doing pretty well himself. This is what his Game 5 goal sounded like back home in Finland:
The Hawks played well, of course, but they also benefited from a freakish trip-and-fall by Nikita Kucherov early in the first period. Kucherov's resulting shoulder injury broke up The Triplets for the rest of the game, and the 21-year-old Tampa Bay Lightning forward is now "questionable" for Game 6. [NHL]
The Blackhawks' victory in Amalie Arena gives them the opportunity to win the Stanley Cup on home ice for the first time since 1938. [NHL]
But the Lightning have already tested their mettle in elimination games during these playoffs, and their road record is nothing to sneeze at. [NHL]
Josh Cooper says that in this year's Conn Smythe Trophy race, there is Duncan Keith and then there is everyone else. [Puck Daddy]
You may remember that AHL Commissioner Dave Andrews has confirmed that the league's California teams will play as many as eight fewer games than the others — including their division mates, the Texas Stars and the San Antonio Rampage. Stephen Meserve of 100 Degree Hockey (and of DBD) puts forth a proposal to even up the competition in the Pacific Division. [100 Degree Hockey]
Speaking of the AHL, if you can't keep track of the new NHL-AHL affiliations for 2015-16, Stephen has created a scorecard. It's handy. [100 Degree Hockey]
The Detroit Red Wings may be willing to trade their 2013 20th-overall, forward Anthony Mantha, as well as their 2015 first-round pick. [SportsNet]
But would they benefit more from trading Mantha for a player with immediate impact, or hanging onto a talented prospect who just completed a difficult season? [Detroit Free Press]
Meanwhile, it sounds as if the Colorado Avalanche and Ryan O'Reilly may have agreed to see other people.
The Colorado Avalanche are reportedly listening to offers for Ryan O'Reilly. http://t.co/WPdgrMvIda pic.twitter.com/GuelXHwuYu— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) June 14, 2015
Elsewhere, the Leafs' Twitter account trolled a troll while other teams' accounts watched and cheered. [BarDown]
Finally: Ronda Pearson, the angry Arizona Coyotes fan whose epic rant to the Glendale City Council went viral late last week, got to live out a dream on Saturday: legally tasing the city's mayor. Jerry Weiers is reported to be "OK" after getting the shock treatment, which was all part of a fund-raiser that scared up $10,000 for the state's first responders. [NBC 12 News]