One of the best players in the NHL is about to start the regular season without a contract extension. That's a pretty big deal, actually, and even bigger because that player is Steven Stamkos, whose Tampa Bay Lightning came so close to beating the overdog Chicago Blackhawks to a Stanley Cup.
And one of the biggest effects Stamkos' next contract will have is in the precedent it sets for other elite forwards – including Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin. Mike Heika held his weekly chat on Wednesday and addressed the issue head on:
It's a long ways away, but if Seguin's contract were up this offseason, would he get north of $10M AAV? I think they are more worried about how Stamkos will affect Jamie Benn. The cap's growth could be slowed by the problems with the Canadian dollar, so I'm not sure if the Stars can have a team where two players each make $10 million a year. It will be a drama worth studying in the future. On the good side, Patrick Sharp and Jason Spezza come off the books at just the right time to keep both Benn and Seguin happy, so Jim Nill is already thinking about those contracts.
The question of retiring the numbers of Jere Lehtinen and Sergei Zubov seems always to be in the back of Stars fans' minds. Heika gets why:
I agree. I think it needs to happen pretty soon. I'll ask around.
Heika also answered questions about how the Stars will look compared to the rest of the
Murder Death Kill Central Division:
They can crack the top three, and I do think the Blues are the team to beat right now, but it will be a great race.
And he talked about what the Stars will miss most about Trevor Daley:
Probably that speed from having a defenseman join the rush. Daley would drive hard and go to the net or all the way around it. Nobody else on this team does that. That said, what they make up for with the defense from Oduya seems like a good trade off.
And he tackled the question you've been thinking for most of the summer now:
Question: Have you ever found out what possessed Klingy to get cornrows?
Heika: No, I'll ask this week.
Check out the Stars headlines at the redesigned SportsDayDFW. What do you think? [SportsDayDFW]
It's hockey night in Texas, y'all. The Stars play their first home preseason game against the Tampa Bay Lightning at 7 p.m. Central. If there's a way to watch or listen, you already know DBD has you covered. Check back.
Meanwhile, yesterday was the Stars' turn in the NHL.com 30-in-15 blender. Yes, the "???" is clickbait, but the correct answer is "profit." Probably. Maybe?
Steve Hunt also takes a good look at the team's structure and says the Stanley Cup experience they added over the summer could make the difference. [NHL.com]
And Big Val makes yet another list of "sleeper" players who could go huge this season. [TSN]
For you, prospect hounds: The U.S. Hockey League has shared out its 2015-16 media guide. You're welcome.
Last night, Lightning goalie Ben Bishop played his first game since tearing a groin muscle during the Stanley Cup finals. He stopped 18 shots in about 30 minutes. [Tampa Tribune]
And The New Jersey Devils gave a lovely salute to the late Yogi Berra.
Defenseman Francis Bouillon, who played for the Montreal Canadiens for 11 of his 14 years in the NHL, has announced his retirement.
Finally: There was a familiar face riding for the Stars in yesterday's State Fair of Texas parade. Eat some of that chicken-fried lobster for me, Vic.