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Dallas Stars Daily Links: The Stars Are Spending Money Like a Win-Now Team

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The team's budget makes perfect sense...as long as they win, says Mike Heika. Plus, EA Sports releases player ratings from NHL 16, and the Dallas Sled Stars game blew up all over Twitter.

James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

In case you missed it, the Dallas Stars signed Cody Eakin to a four-year, $3.85 million-per-year extension on Friday. As such deals are liable to do, it immediately set off a flurry of number-crunching around the team's remaining cap space, as well as speculation over what this deal means for players like Alex Goligoski, who is due to hit free agency at the end of this season.

Mike Heika did the responsible thing and compared GM Jim Nill's moves over the past two seasons to similar deals around the league. The Dallas Morning News published his thoughts yesterday.

First, he takes a good look at the Jason Spezza extension from the beginning of 2014-15:

Jim Nill last season gave Jason Spezza a four-year contract extension worth $7.5 million. That's a lot of cash for a 32-year-old, but Spezza is a point-a-game player in his career, so it's the going rate for that kind of scorer. The question is whether or not the Stars could have found a better player for the same money.

St. Louis signed Paul Stastny to a four-year deal that averages $7.0 million and Stastny is three years younger than Spezza, so that seems a better deal. However, Stastny has been a 50-60 point guy in his career, and that's a pretty big swing on points. Spezza had just 62 points last season and you can speculate his points will go down as a No. 2 center behind Tyler Seguin, but my personal guess is Spezza will have a big scoring year because of a strong power play and strong scoring depth on his wings.

Heika also discusses the defensive foundation and the expansion of the team's young core:

The way Nill has the defense structured, he can go with some pretty affordable kids for a few years to come. Johns and Esa Lindell show great promise, while having veterans like Goligoski, Demers and Johnny Oduya allows the team to have patience. The Stars could actually have a talented and affordable defense for years to come.

The deals for Eakin and Klingberg (seven years at $4.25 million) are matters of trust. Nill likes them both and wants them to be part of the core going forward. He could have waited until next summer and squeezed Eakin, because there is a good chance his numbers don't go up with the addition of Sharp and the return of Valeri Nichushkin. But Nill liked what Eakin did in the World Championships and he believes Eakin can not only be a solid checker, but a depth player in the top six on the wing.

Of course, the bottom line is...well, the bottom line.

Owner Tom Gaglardi is investing in this team because he has studied the history of the area. If Gaglardi wants to make money on hockey in Texas, the team has to win and the building has to be full. That's how it worked before, and that's the plan again. The Stars appear to be creating a buzz, and they seem to be pushing attendance higher. If they start to win, this could really start being a tough ticket to get.

If that happens, the team makes money and Nill's plan will look very smart. If they don't win, then everything has the potential to blow up.

Take a good hard look at those multi-game ticket packages now. [SportsDayDFW]

*****

A sled hockey game happened on Saturday night, but the real action took place between periods, and now Stars fan Lindsey Dortch is internet famous.

Seriously, this story was everywhere.

This story was not everywhere, yet it was somehow more inevitable.

SportsNet counts Patrick Sharp among the NHL's top 5 offseason forward acquisitions, because of course he is.

Meanwhile, Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman promises that fans are "really going to fall in love" with the team's new acquisitions – including, presumably, former Stars Trevor Daley and Ryan Garbutt. [TheScore]

Taylor Raglin of The Hockey Writers discusses 15 Dallas Stars questions with The Ticket's Bob Sturm. (Plus it starts with a Chris Chelios anecdote that should make you chuckle.) [The Hockey Writers]

Former Nashville Predators left wing Ryan Thang left a European career to play in the Asia League. Now he's in a standoff with his team, Seoul-based High1, over back pay, future employment, and a promised chance at a spot on the Korean Olympic team. [SportsNet]

Meanwhile, on this continent, free-agent winger Curtis Glencross, formerly of the Calgary Flames, warns other players against taking a hometown discount. [Calgary Sun]

However you feel about Daniel Carcillo as a player, you'll probably salute what the former (possibly retiring) Blackhawks forward did during his day with the Stanley Cup: He announced the creation of the Chapter 5 Foundation, a nonprofit organization that will help former pro players transition into new careers and lives after sports.

And Allan Muir posts another thoughtful article, this one asking what Mike Richards' drug arrest says about the use of prescription painkillers in the NHL. [Sports Illustrated]

Minnesota Wild goalie Devin Dubnyk has had quite a year, and that's just during the past seven months or so. Tom Powers catches up with him in this new interview. [St. Paul Pioneer Press]

Stop the presses, because @EASportsNHL is releasing player ratings for NHL 16! Visit their Twitter feed to watch the reveals happen in real time, and meanwhile visit the Top 10 Defensemen link for in-game art of Predators 1D and hockey Rainicorn Shea Weber looking as if he's just decided to play with his food before he eats it.

The Chicago Steel just set a Junior Club World Cup record with its fourth consecutive medal-winning appearance in the international tournament, beating Russia Avto on the team's home ice in Yekaterinburg.

Speaking of younger players, the new hockey season starts soon for youth leagues, too. USA Hockey shares five tips for a successful tryout. [USA Hockey]

Sad news: Hall of Famer Al Arbour, who coached the New York Islanders to dynastic glory in the 1970s and '80s, died Friday at age 82. Wayne Gretzky remembers him as "a wonderful person who got respect from everybody who played with him, against him or for him." [Newsday]

Elsewhere, former Montreal Canadiens captain and all-time hockey great Henri "Pocket Rocket" Richard is battling Alzheimer's disease. [Yahoo Sports]

Finally: The St. Louis Blues shared a photo of one jersey foul you might just chalk up to truth in advertising. Now try not to spend the rest of the day on the bathroom floor, holding your knees and rocking back and forth.