The first days of 2015 free agency are behind us, and generally speaking, the Dallas Stars have stayed out of the fray. They've locked up a couple of important offensive pieces in Patrick Eaves and Curtis McKenzie, but otherwise, they've been quiet. How quiet is too quiet? That depends on your perspective.
Mike Heika posted a great column yesterday on the Stars' goals and the fans' expectations, and the anxiety that arises when the frenzy is at its height and every team seems to be improving except for yours.
So where are your Stars when all of this is happening? They are sitting tight and believing patience is the key to everything. Truth be told, they have a lot of money wrapped up in forwards and still have to negotiate a contract extension for captain Jamie Benn pretty soon (his current deal expires in 2017). Truth be told, they have a ton of young defensemen and believe two guys in the minors (Julius Honka and Esa Lindell) are NHL locks in the future. Truth be told, you don't get every deal you want.
So as you look at the defense and you assess where it stands, you do wonder if the timing lines up.
Heika articulates those nagging worries that many Stars fans share about the "win now" versus "we'll get better" tension in the team's current roster. At the same time, he incorporates some new intelligence about how much work it takes for Stars management to appear so nonchalant.
Nill said this week that the team has gone through a lot of changes since he took over, and he's right about that. He wants to let the lineup settle in. He points to the end of last season, and said he believes the Stars are very close to being one of the better teams in the league.
And he doesn't want to mess that up.
So he's being patient right now and he's waiting for the right timing on a deal. When he sees it, he'll react.
But timing is an interesting thing in this league — maybe the most important thing. And, as you see really good players go to other teams, you're starting to get nervous. Because the only real way to know if timing is right or wrong is when you look back...and then it's too late.
If you didn't catch this article in yesterday's open thread, be sure to make time for it today. After all, anything can happen, still. [Sports Day DFW]
If the Stars action wasn't action-y enough for you, cheer up: Jim Nill repeats what he's been saying all along, which is that the team is far more likely to improve the defense through trades than through free agency.
With U.S. Independence Day just hours away, the inimitable Ralph Strangis offers a few thoughts on the uneasy intersection of sports and patriotism.
Jason Spezza has joined the 4th annual SmashFest taking place in Toronto July 23. He and several other NHL stars will show off their ping-pong skills in the name of raising money for research into concussions, traumatic brain injury and rare cancers. [NHLPA]
Kevin Bieksa has landed on his feet in Anaheim: The Ducks have signed the veteran defender to a 2-year extension worth $8 million.
Anaheim Ducks announce Kevin Bieksa contract extension http://t.co/Q7YpU5C0FW— ESPN NHL coverage (@ESPN_NHL) July 3, 2015
Now that Phil Kessel has gone to the Pittsburgh Penguins (and was thereby plucked from the six-year dumpster fire that was the Toronto Maple Leafs to presumptively be placed alongside two of the best forwards in all of hockey), Adam Gretz walks through the twisted trade tree — of which the Stars' own Tyler Seguin is such an important bough — that ended up benefiting everyone involved except its original partners.
Revisiting the original Phil Kessel trade, where nobody is a winner today. http://t.co/vIbahDg0ut— Adam Gretz (@AGretz) July 3, 2015
Have the Pens told you today how much they're looking forward to having Kessel in their own version of black and gold? Perhaps this Vine will explain.
Kessel himself finally spoke up about the trade yesterday. He's pretty excited about the possibility of playing next to Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, even though "Toronto was a place I loved." [SportsNet]
And in a different hockey universe altogether, WSHL player Harley Haggerty talks about the obvious risks and improbable rewards of being a career face-puncher in the minor leagues. [The Players' Tribune]
Yes, there really was draft action afoot this week: The CHL import draft took place on Tuesday. Find out where NHL-drafted players like Oliver Kylington will play next year. [SportsNet]
Helene Elliott says what you were probably thinking.
Kings should never let Slava Voynov play for them again http://t.co/TXq62SP9Za— Helene Elliott (@helenenothelen) July 3, 2015
Now that Martin St. Louis has called it a career, is the Hall of Fame his next stop?
Hart, Pearson, Cup, 2 Art Ross, 3 Lady Byng, 5 top ten scoring finishes, 1 of 5 to record 1000 pts. since joining NHL pic.twitter.com/CpVB60VWdJ— StatsCentre (@StatsCentre) July 3, 2015
In the meantime, check out a truly heartwarming collection of congratulatory messages from friends, rivals and other colleagues.
Finally: T.J. Oshie is leaving the St. Louis Blues for the Washington Capitals, and it's like a photomeme cluster bomb went off on Twitter. Look at the adventures T.J. Sochi is getting up to in the Nation's Capital!
To your battle stations, readers! https://t.co/JwQe8Ix9Sp— RMNB (@russianmachine) July 3, 2015