We've been talking for months about how the Dallas Stars will remake their blueline into (hopefully) the best version of itself in the 2016-17 season. Generally, we discuss this as if it's as easy as plugging in our favorite prospects and players and letting them run.
Head coach Lindy Ruff is faced with the task of making this retooling work, and he discussed the work ahead with Mike Heika of The Dallas Morning News:
Ruff said the balance of getting the right mix on defense was always a challenge, but that he liked the pairing of [Alex] Goligoski and [John] Klingberg. They were able to keep the puck out of their own end, and while Ruff received criticism for having a lighter pairing (Goligoski is 5-11, 185 and Klingberg 6-2, 180) on the ice at the end of games sometimes, the Stars did not allow an empty net goal in the final two minutes of a game.
Conversely, they led the NHL in empty net goals scored with 24, because they had skilled defensemen who could help get the puck out to the forwards. So there's always a give and take.
"I get the impression that people want the biggest, fastest, most experienced players out there every minute, and things just don't work that way," Nill said. "No team is perfect, so you work hard and do your best."
Meanwhile, GM Jim Nill says he has enough faith in his players and coaches to let nature take its course:
"Lindy has a history of working with some of the best defensemen in the world at the Olympics, so he knows what he's doing," said Stars general manager Jim Nill. "We're in transition and this is a process, but I have full trust in our players and our coaches, and I think we'll be better moving forward."
There's much more at Heika's place. Clear your cookies! [SportsDayDFW]
If you're up before 11 a.m., you're in time to catch today's edition of Stars Sunday on The Ticket.
Ready for Frozen Fury 2016? The Stars play the Los Angeles Kings in VEGAS BABY, and single-game tickets are on sale now.
Mike Modano was in second place Friday at the American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament. He must have picked up some pro advice.
Power rankings, already? NHL Tonight picks their top five offseason teams.
And it's already time to starting talking about the 2017 NHL Draft, too.
The New York Rangers spent a busy Friday avoiding arbitration with their two biggest RFAS. Forward Chris Kreider signed for four years and $18.5 million; hours later, center Kevin Hayes struck a deal for two years and $5.2 million. [USA Today]
Meanwhile, Buffalo Sabres forward Evander Kane has been arrested on one charge of misdemeanor trespass stemming from a June 24 incident in a Buffalo bar, for which he may also face up to four counts of non-criminal harassment. [Puck Daddy]
NHL teams are still shelling out too much money for depth players, writes Mike Murphy.
Trevor Daley got his day with the Stanley Cup yesterday, and, well...see for yourself.
The NHL Players' Association has posted a full recap of Smashfest V, in which Patrick Eaves repeated as champion. [NHLPA]
By the way, the greatest beard in hockey has a brand-new Twitter account @Patrick_Eaves. Give him a follow.
It looks as if Las Vegas GM George McPhee is looking for personnel with his former franchise, the Washington Capitals, to fill out the new front office.
Report: Las Vegas NHL team asked permission to speak with Capitals assistant GM https://t.co/NjjQv8XPwe— NHL on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) July 23, 2016
Texas Stars beat writer Sean Shapiro answers questions from the mail bag on topics ranging from prospects to the Pacific Division. [Wrong Side of the Red Line]
Finally: T-Stars defenseman Ludwig Byström celebrated his 22nd birthday on Wednesday. Check out the congratulatory sparkle reel, and enjoy.