What should the Dallas Stars do as they fall back and regroup this summer? Sean Shapiro, who reports on the Stars for NHL.com and still runs Wrong Side of the Red Line, devoted his latest Mailbag to examining several questions about the team’s future.
Shapiro writes that GM Jim Nill should begin at home in the search for impact veterans and re-sign forwards Ales Hemsky and Adam Cracknell:
If fully healthy Hemsky can be a valuable part of this team and his skating ability was severely missed through the season. Cracknell is the perfect fourth-liner and I like his versatility to play both center or wing.
He also fronts some ideas about the Stars’ underperforming blueline:
After my internal players, I take a look at the veteran defensemen available. I think the Stars would be very interested in Karl Alzner, but he’s going to be highly-coveted on the open market and may want to go to a team that actually looked like a playoff contender this season. ...
Before this season I wouldn’t have considered protecting Jamie Oleksiak, however with how this season has played out I think you could see him get protected over Stephen Johns if current trends continue over the final 18 games.
And he addresses speculation over whether Denis Gurianov makes the big team in the fall:
[He] is certainly capable of making a jump next season, we just need to see if he earns that opportunity.
I think the key with Gurianov — remember he is only 19 years old — is making him earn everything. Another year in the AHL wouldn’t be a bad thing, and he could always make the jump to the NHL in the middle of the season.
Read more, including prognostication on next season’s defensemen and scouting on the new trade-deadline players. [Wrong Side of the Red Line]
Mark Stepneski has the official preview of tonight’s road game with the Washington Capitals (don’t forget the early start time of 6:30 p.m. Central time).
At The Dallas Morning News, Mike Heika writes that Esa Lindell is living up to the confidence Lindy Ruff has shown in him, and he shows receipts.
Greatest Star Mike Modano and briefly-a-Star Eric Lindros both made NHL.com’s league of legends who at one point suited up in the “wrong” uniform.
Last night, in #MDK-ing:
- The Minnesota Wild took back the lead in the Central Division race with a 2-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks. [Fear the Fin]
- And the St. Louis Blues took a one-point lead for the last Western Conference wildcard spot after shutting out the Colorado Avalanche 3-0. [St. Louis Game Time]
Elsewhere, two former Stars made headlines: The Vancouver Canucks leveraged a 43-save game by Richard Bachman to beat the Anaheim Ducks 2-1 , but lost Loui Eriksson to a knee-on-knee collision with Chris Wagner. [CBS Los Angeles]
Ducks LW Nick Ritchie credits his older brother, Stars RW Brett Ritchie, with helping him find his way as they both experience their rookie NHL years. [NHL]
Speaking of NHL brothers, it look as if Jordie Benn is already moving out of Jamie’s shadow.
Speaking of Yukon Cornelius, Razor had some fun after both Benn brothers scored on Saturday night:
The Calgary Flames have the best record in the NHL since late January. Their bench boss, former Stars coach Glen Gulutzan, sat down for a long conversation with Alex Prewitt just before a fourth consecutive victory.
The University of Alaska-Fairbanks Nanooks – the hockey program that produced Colton Parayko – have found their funding endangered as the state looks for ways to save money. Ryan Kennedy takes a look at how falling oil prices have affected local hockey all over the Last Frontier. [The Hockey News]
The Edmonton Oilers have been on the brink of trading Jordan Eberle for what seems like ever – but he’s heating up at just the right moment.
Here’s a video breakdown of that Nikita Kucherov shootout goal everyone’s been talking about.
My video breakdown of Nikita Kucherov's shootout goal. aka, Five seconds of hockey wizardry. https://t.co/5xTxMc71GK— Pat Iversen (@PatIversenSBN) March 5, 2017
The Texas Stars, still fighting for a playoff spot, beat Pacific Division rivals the San Antonio Rampage 6-2 last night.
Current Stars teammates Jason Spezza and Patrick Sharp were there, and they probably talk about this fight now and just laugh and laugh.
Finally: An 11-year-old Flames fan saw her favorite team play for the first time, thanks to some Star Trek-level custom eyewear. Enjoy, and be amazed.