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Dallas Stars Daily Links: Handing Out End-of-Year Awards for Stars' Prospects

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It's time to hand out awards for the Stars' prospects. Plus, Mike Heika talks more about why the Stars might stick with Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi, and Esa Lindell is playing for a medal.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Remember senior year superlatives? Well, Sean Shapiro has some end-of-year honors to hand out for the Stars' prospects. Thanks to what Shapiro calls a "logjam of talent in Cedar Park," most of the awards are positive.

Radek Faksa earned the nod as the Prospect of the Year, but players from Julius Honka to Curtis McKenzie received some recognition.

Most improved prospect: Matej Stransky, RW, Texas Stars (AHL)

The 22-year-old winger was also a candidate for the hardest working prospect and really escalated his stock this season. Stransky had just 16 goals combined in his first two AHL seasons before putting home 23 during his 2015-16 campaign.

And this all happened after he was a healthy scratch on opening night. After that scratch Stransky moved up the lineup and grew into a leadership role, also picking up added responsibilities on the penalty kill and power play.

Looking ahead to next year, Shapiro says to keep an eye on Jason Dickinson.

Breakout prospect for 2015-16: Jason Dickinson, C, Texas Stars (AHL)

Dickinson was one of the most-well rounded rookies in the AHL this season. The 2013 first-round pick showed off an offensive touch, was good defensively, won face-offs, and developed as a special teams asset in Texas. ...

There are plenty more awards to hand out—from most improved to underachiever—at the link. [Hockey's Future]

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As Kathleen pointed out yesterday, Mike Heika said on Twitter that keeping Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi wouldn't be all that crazy. Then, he went into greater detail on the subject.

What if you return both Lehtonen and Niemi to start next season, and then keep your eyes open for a goaltending move? The three reasons this could be the way they go are: 1.) The NHL is expecting an expansion draft in the summer of 2017; 2.) the contracts for Lehtonen and Niemi get more tradeable as they get closer to expiration...and 3.) the goalie share program worked in the regular season to the tune of a 50-23-9 record.

There's more on the team's troubles in net at the link. [SportsDayDFW]

Everyone's a goalie expert these days. Sportsnet's Joe Peck tries to answer the question: How do you solve a problem like a two-headed goalie system that comes with a big cap hit? [Sportsnet]

Radek Faksa was eliminated from the world championships yesterday, but Esa Lindell is still kicking.

Last night, the Sharks had the Blues, well, singing the Blues. In front of a very happy home crowd, San Jose shut out St. Louis 3-0 to take a 2-1 series lead. [Fear the Fin]

Thanks to Mike Sullivan's willingness to trust in a young goalie, Matt Murray has found his place with the Penguins.[Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

Blues forward and Fort McMurray native Scottie Upshall writes about the devastation in his hometown.

There's a good chance Steven Stamkos won't return for the playoffs, and the Lightning captain is trying to make the best of his current situation. [Sports Illustrated]

The Oilers signed Zack Kassian to a new deal yesterday.

Over at TSN, Travis Yost debates whether David Backes' playoff performance will earn him a big payday. [TSN]

For Cam Ward, Matt Murray's playoff success feels all too similar. Ward's storybook ending didn't stick, though, he could be parting ways with the Hurricanes this summer. [Sportsnet]

Everyone's favorite All-Star is officially on Twitter.

The debate over whether NHLers will participate in the 2018 Pyeongchang Games continues in the wake of news that the International Olympic Olympics won't cover the cost of insurance. [New York Times]

The Auston Matthews highlight reel just keeps growing. The top prospect scored the game-winning goal in the United States' shootout win over the Czech Republic in the quarterfinals.

While breaking down the Senators' potential offseason plans, Scott Cullen says Patrick Eaves could be a good fit in Ottawa. [TSN]

Don't count on seeing Brad Richards and Kyle Quincey back with the Red Wings next year. [Detroit Free People]

And finally, let's take a walk down memory lane.