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Dallas Stars Daily Links: Mike Heika Picks the Stars' Most Improved Players in 2015-16

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They may not be who you expect. Plus, the Sharks survive a Game 5 knife fight, and an NHL netminder reveals how to scout a 21st-century goalie.

Which two of these guys made Heika's most-improved list?
Which two of these guys made Heika's most-improved list?
Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Heika took a question about the Dallas Stars' most improved players during this week's chat, and his answers were...perhaps not what you'd expect if you read Dallas Stars fan boards.

Asked who showed the most improvement from Game 1 of the regular season to Game 7 of Round 2, here's who Heika picked:

Probably Cody Eakin on the season. He was an aggressive and confident player against the Blues.

[Valeri] Nichushkin also looked a lot better.

And of course Radek Faksa and Stephen Johns were fantastic in their late runs.

He also weighed in on the perennial question of "draft for need" or "best player available":

I think best player available. They have done a good job of stocking the system, so they can be patient. They could use another high-end, skilled forward and they still need goalies, but I don't think they have to reach for anything.

Check out more excerpts or read the full June 6 chat here. [SportsDayDFW]

*****

Jamie Benn will be one of several special Stars guests at this year's Party in the Park. Save July 15 and show up downtown.

Last night, in "What Do We Say to the God of Death?": Melker Karlsson scored the Game 5 GWG in the first period (with assists from Logan Couture and Brenden Dillon), and Martin Jones made 44 saves as the San Jose Sharks lived to fight the Pittsburgh Penguins again, 4-2. [Fear the Fin]

Josh Cooper calls this goal the key moment of the game for more reasons than one. [Puck Daddy]

It never hurts to ask after a superstar's availability, as long as you're prepared to get a "no" right in the face. So learned an anonymous Western Conference GM who got shot down personally by the CanadiensMarc Bergevin while inquiring about P.K. Subban. [The Hockey News]

Also at THN: Team Russia says that if Dany Heatley took his punishment and still got to play hockey, then Slava Voynov deserves the same treatment. [THN]

And in KHL news, we get a look at a logo for the Russian league's first expansion team in China, Red Star Kunlun.

How do you know if a goalie is really any good? If you've been a part of the discussions about what G scouts look for in recent Daily Links threads, you'll want to read what Ben Scrivens has to say about modern goaltending.

"Good skating ability allows a goalie who is caught out of position to get as much of his or her body in the way as possible when the time comes to hit the panic button. And believe me, every goalie hits the panic button. It's all a matter of being prepared for those moments." - Ben Scrivens

Someone has actually done an aerodynamic profile of Joe Thornton's playoffs beard. WHAT A TIME TO BE ALIVE.

It's going to be a busy summer in minor-league rebranding, says Icethetics' Chris Smith. Here he reviews new logos from the Columbus Cottonmouths and the Wichita Thunder, and previews what's to come for other SPHL, ECHL and AHL teams. [Icethetics]

Congratulations to North Texas' own Allen Americans: Last night, the Sharks' ECHL affiliate completed its run to back-to-back Kelly Cup championships with a 4-2 win over the Pens' Wheeling Nailers in Game 6. [ECHL]

And kudos to Chad Costello, who received league MVP honors during the postgame celebration.

Finally: Jason Demers turned 28 yesterday. Happy birthday, Daddy!