The day is here.
Okay, not the first day of the playoffs. Not even the day the Dallas Stars clinch a playoff berth or start the season or bring up some highly-touted prospect.
But on this day in February that only occurs once every four years, the 2016 NHL trade deadline has officially arrived.
At 3 p.m. eastern time, 2 p.m. Central today, NHL teams are officially restricted from making trades if they want the players involved to be eligible for the playoffs. That means it's the last chance for teams like the Stars to try and load up on players for the short or long term to take part in what they hope will be a playoff run.
The Stars haven't made any moves just yet, but rumors late Sunday night had them interested in two defensemen - Kris Russell of the Calgary Flames and Dan Hamhuis of the Vancouver Canucks. As always, the asking price for such players seems to be high:
Dallas remains focused on either Russell or Hamhuis. Stars have a lot of time for Russell. Flames hoping to fetch two 2nds in return.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) February 29, 2016
Russell doesn't make a whole lot of sense in some ways, as he's a bad possession player on a bad team (a very negative Corsi Rel and an even worse looking Corsi). His cap hit of $2.6 million expires after this season, and his 5-foot-10, 170 pound frame doesn't answer any of the questions the Stars have about size on defense.
Hamhuis, at 6-1, 209, makes a little more sense, and he has settled in well after returning from a nasty injury earlier this season. He carries a higher cap hit at $4.5 million but is also a UFA after this season.
Neither player takes particularly tough minutes and both PK, but Hamhuis PKs more than Russell with slightly better success.
So the Stars may look there. They may also look elsewhere or nowhere at all. Regardless, it will be a very interesting day with some big choices to talk about.