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NHL Trade Deadline: No Trades Necessary for Competitive Central Division Leaders Dallas Stars

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It's easy to look for quick fixes. Success-starved Stars fans certainly cannot be blamed for wanting to kick the team's recent resurgence into overdrive, but is that the right move? As painful as the present can be, sometimes the best moves are the ones you don't make, which is why the Stars should sit out this year's trading frenzy.

This year's team doesn't need an acquisition like Jason Spezza to compete.
This year's team doesn't need an acquisition like Jason Spezza to compete.
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

So Chicago got Andrew Ladd. That's a "top that" move for the rest of the Central Division, isn't it? It's a pro-rated play around the fringes of the salary cap to make the defending champs deeper and more dangerous. For Stars fans the natural instinct is anxiety. Because they have to counter, don't they? I actually think that would be a bad idea. The more I ponder, the more comfortable I get with the notion of GM Jim Nill holding his cards at the trade deadline.

The Dallas Stars, as currently constructed, will have every chance to compete for this year's Stanley Cup. That's not hyperbole. 62 games of regular season play makes it easy to fixate on flaws, but the reality is that Dallas has all but locked in an appearance in the post-season tournament. The Stars are a deep squad with extreme skill. Including last night's contest they're 2nd in scoring offense in the NHL at 3.23 goals per game (behind only the Washington Capitals at 3.29). No, that doesn't make the Stars any sort of favorite, but it does make them dangerous. Ask Chicago how long it takes Dallas to bury an opponent. Ask Washington. 

This is also a team powered by relatively young pieces. John Klingberg (23), Jamie Benn (26), and Tyler Seguin (24) are as much the future as they are the present. Patrick Sharp and Jason Spezza are critical pieces, there are also other contributors throughout the lineup, but the bulk of the players that really matter sit comfortably in their 20s. That's an advantage; it means Stars management isn't trying to prop open a closing window. There's no need to chase a bad deal.

That is not to say the Stars are a finished product. Far from it. Keeping the puck out of their own net continues to be a major problem, as is an over-investment in goaltending. The list on the fridge says "milk, cheese, a scoring winger, a faceoff winner, and special teams help." Those aren't easy fixes. Systemic issues are rarely addressed by one move, they're settled by a series of smaller adjustments; a depth winger here, a re-shuffled defensive unit there.

To close, I give you two scenarios. In the first, Nill and Co go out into the market, find a silver bullet, and in 20 games the Stars go from a 1989 to 1999 Vintage. In the second, they shoot, and shoot, and shoot, and by game seven their shell-shocked opponent just leaves the red light on. Neither is likely, but the second feels more plausible, doesn't it? It's carried the team this far.

Plus, the second scenario doesn't wreck Dallas' meticulously managed cap, nor does it fritter away top-end resources for questionable gain. It allows the current core to add valuable competitive experience, and gives management a longer look at players in high-pressure roles. As much as fans want to seize the moment, this team is far better served sticking to the long game.

At least for one more season.