The Dallas Stars may or may not make a move before today's NHL trade deadline, but Jim Nill has been busy regardless.
The Stars' delightfully crafty GM has been working the phones "all day" every day by his own reckoning, judging the players available and weighing them against his own assets. Increasingly, the balance has shifted toward holding his cards, writes Mark Stepneski:
"We are a contending team. I think any team that makes the playoffs has a chance to win," Nill said. "We are [third] overall in the league. You can say what you want; we are doing something right. I like our team. I like our depth. I like the kids we have down in Texas. We are not in the mode where we are saying we have to do something. I like where we are at right now.
But that doesn't keep the rumors from flying this time of year. And it doesn't rule out Nill doing something before the deadline. What's rumor and reality will be sorted out when the deadline hits at 2 p.m. (Central Time) on Monday. Stay tuned.
Jason Spezza, who frequently serves as the Stars' voice of experience, will be perfectly fine with a quiet deadline:
"When other teams make trades the initial reaction is, ‘Wow, they've gotten so much better.' But I've been on teams that have made those deadline acquisitions, and it hasn't worked. And I've been on teams where it's worked a little bit," he said. "I think you just worry about yourself. We feel good about going against anybody we have to play. We have some things we need to tighten up. We aren't at the highest level we can play yet, but we have a good team. Teams will make moves around us, but I don't think it will change our approach."
There's a lot more under the link. [Stars Inside Edge]
Mike Heika's Sunday feature reinforces the fact that Nill won't go for any deal unless he believes "the price is right":
Nill believes in safe risk management. He has a pool of good young prospects, and he believes they can either help his team for years to come or help acquire players who will be in Dallas for more than a few months.
"I just think that's too high a price to pay for us," he said. "We have a great group of prospects who are maturing and advancing, and I think we're in a good place. We have answers already inside our organization."
Read more at Mike's place. [SportsDayDFW]
He had his priorities during the Academy Awards, too.
But The Dallas Morning News got into the award-season spirit with its Sports Oscars, featuring Tyler Seguin, Jason Demers and more. [SportsDayDFW]
Last night, in Our Regularly Scheduled Unpleasantness:
- The Chicago Blackhawks fought off a Washington Capitals surge (and arguably got the benefit of a generous non-call) to beat the league leaders 3-2. [Puck Daddy]
- The Minnesota Wild defeated the Florida Panthers 3-1 in a game in which goalie Al Montoya left in the first period after taking an elbow to the chin from the Wild's Marco Scandella. [Sports Illustrated]
- And the Eric Staal-less Carolina Hurricanes were no match for the St. Louis Blues, who took home a 5-2 victory. [NHL]
The Blackhawks regained the Western Conference lead thanks to a controversial Dennis Rasmussen goal on a play that looked as if it should have earned an icing call instead. [NBC Sports]
The Vancouver Canucks played blueliner Dan Hamhuis last night, even though rumors of his impending trade – possibly to the Stars – have been gaining steam throughout the weekend.
Hamhuis himself addressed the issue after last night's 4-1 loss to the San Jose Sharks – another
And here's an interesting bit of context from Craig Custance:
Keep in mind w/Dan Hamhuis. Took a healthy discount to sign with Vancouver. Has every right to be picky about where he goes if at all.— Craig Custance (@CraigCustance) February 28, 2016
The Sports Illustrated roundtable takes on possible last-minute trades, and Allan Muir suggests the Stars organization "owes" fans at least one big move before the deadline. [SI]
The New York Rangers shored up their playoff readiness by bringing in Eric Staal to play with his brother Marc. The 'Canes captain is moving to Broadway (and away from another brother, Jordan) in exchange for two second-round picks and prospect Aleksi Saarela. [USA Today]
Carolina was in full restock mode yesterday, sending RW Kris Versteeg to the Los Angeles Kings for a conditional fifth-round pick and prospect Valentin Zykov. [ESPN]
And the Toronto Maple Leafs kept selling, finalizing the trade of forward Daniel Winnik and a 2016 fifth-round pick to the Capitals for forward Brooks Laich, defender Connor Carrick and a 2016 second-rounder. [TSN]
Following the action at home? Here are a couple of handy resources:
- Keep an eye on TSN's NHL Trade Tracker to check all the deals happening through this afternoon's deadline [TSN]
- And follow #TradeCentre on Twitter to keep up with the latest news (and be amused by the obvious trolling that is obvious).
Finally: Jamie and Jordie Benn grew up with a "second father" in North Saanich skate sharpener and hockey volunteer Larry Orr. Now they've told Hometown Hockey all about their late mentor.