If you’ve suffered one too many dips during the Dallas Stars’ up-and-down 2016-17 season, perhaps you’re finding solace in thinking about the future – the trade deadline, or NHL Draft season, or unrestricted free agency. And Mike Heika took on that very subject in yesterday afternoon’s Dallas Morning News post.
There are risks involved with even a partial write-down – and with the Western Conference being weirdly obliging about the Stars’ stop-and-start success to date, those risks must be weighed carefully, Heika writes:
With the Stars just three points out of a playoff spot despite their struggles, it seems fair to allow the current group to try to work their way out of this. They won the division last season, so it's not that far of a stretch to believe they have at least one winning streak in them this season.
And when you look at the possibility of hiring Gerard Gallant or some other coach available right now, you have to understand that coach will want a three-or four-year contract. Is now the time to make that commitment? Is it worth that long-term risk to try to save the season?
All of this is to say that these things can be fixed. The Stars next season could start with a new coaching staff, a new No. 1 goalie and a refreshed forward group. Mattias Janmark appears to be gaining some steam in his recovery from knee surgery and there is a chance Valeri Nichushkin could come back from Russia. The Stars have six forwards who are potential UFAs, and their departures could open up $14.5 million in cap space. If the team decides to be sellers at the trade deadline, they also could bring prospects or draft picks before they leave.
If you believe in the group of defensemen -- and I do -- you could get them playing experience down the stretch and then head into next season with a group of 25-year-olds leading your blue line.
There’s much more at Mike’s place. Share and discuss. [SportsDayDFW]
Adam Cracknell got a chance to stay in the majors this season, and he’s worked to make it stick. Mark Stepneski catches up with him.
By the way, Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi are already practicing in the NHL’s new, “streamlined” goalie pants, which will become mandatory on Feb. 4. [SportsDayDFW]
And Tyler Seguin talks All-Star Weekend.
Greg Wyshynski, a Disinterested Party, is relishing the tight race for the wild-card spots.
Sportsnet’s John Shannon has compiled his second annual Power 25. See who made this year’s list of players, executives, broadcasters, marketers and other movers and shakers in international hockey. [Sportsnet]
He also reports that one person from that list is making a high-profile visit to L.A. this weekend:
It should be noted that IIHF leader Rene Fasel will be in LA for All-star weekend...so you know Olympics will be on many peoples' minds.— John Shannon (@JSportsnet) January 26, 2017
From Craig Billington to Zemgus Girgensons, Sean McIndoe devotes the latest Down Goes Brown to the oddest picks in All-Star history. [Sportsnet]
Also at THN: Will the St. Louis Blues move Kevin Shattenkirk for real this time? Matt Larkin ponders five possible destinations.
The ESPN roundtable takes a look at the players – including Patrick Sharp – whose trade value may be peaking for the deadline. [ESPN]
ICYMI: Chris Smith of Icethetics reviews the latest news in logos, third jerseys, All-Star equipment and more.
Dave Strader is still receiving messages from WellWishesForStrader@DallasStars.com. Drop him a line.
Are you free on Friday? The Texas Stars celebrate ’80s Night with the Bakersfield Condors, and tickets are available.
Finally: As 2017 All-Star Weekend approaches, let us all agree that the Stars (and Tyler Seguin) have already won #HockeyGoesHollywood. Share and enjoy.
You can check out every team’s contributions in the NHL’s Twitter moment here.