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Dallas Stars Daily Links: With Highest Draft Spot in Decades, Stars Finally Get a Big Win This Season

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Now, how do the Stars make the most of it? Plus, Sidney Crosby’s status is in question, and the NHL announces its 2016-17 league MVP finalists.

NHL: NHL Draft
Denis Gurianov’s back is a pretty good stand-in for the mystery man who will become the Stars’ first top-three draft pick since 1988.
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Stars, and their fans, have plenty to be excited about with the team winning a top-three spot in the 2017 NHL Draft lottery. For one thing, it’s the biggest victory of the season, as Mike Heika of The Dallas Morning News points out.

Dallas doesn’t have much history to speak of with high draft picks, and what does exist (Richard Jackman at No. 5, anyone?) isn’t exactly the kind that lifts your soul with hope. But a win is a win:

...[M]oving up five spots helps the Stars in a lot of ways. In addition to creating a chance to find a significantly improved level of prospect, the Stars also open the door to trade the pick if another team wants to move up.

"It's a very valuable asset," general manager Jim Nill said. "You clearly want to pick as high as you can, and we're moving from eighth to third, so that's a huge deal for us."

And while Heika reminds that the draft isn’t won or lost in the first round and Nill emphasizes finding talent at every level, the tough choices associated with a high pick are – let’s face it – pretty nice problems to have:

Moving up on a lot of boards is Gabriel Vilardi. He's one of the bigger forwards (6-3, 201) and one of the youngest players (he won't turn 18 until Aug. 16). The versatile Canadian center had 61 points (29 goals, 32 assists) in 49 games with Windsor (OHL) last season.

Also moving up is Miro Heiskanen, a skilled Finnish defenseman, and Owen Tippett, a winger out of Ontario. Dallas also could go the Minnesota high school route again, as it did last season when it selected Riley Tufte 25th overall. This year, center Casey Mittelstadt had 30 points (13 goals, 17 assists) in 24 games with Green Bay in the USHL.

There’s more at Mike’s place. [SportsDayDFW]

Meanwhile, the mock drafts are showing up already. Who did Pat Iversen predict for the Stars’ No. 3? [SBNation]

Starting today, @DallasStars will kick off the team’s 25th anniversary with the first of 25 defining moments in franchise history. (Check out that new jersey patch!)

From his 27 points in 57 games for the Texas Stars to his NHL debut, Denis Gurianov had an eventful first year in North American hockey. Mark Stepneski has a review.

Last night, in the only game in town:

  • The Washington Capitals had a two-goal lead until they gave up two goals in the last two minutes of regulation – but a Trevor Daley penalty in OT and the subsequent Kevin Shattenkirk PPG gave the Caps a 3-2 victory and cut the Pittsburgh Penguins’ series lead to one. [Japers’ Rink]

Sidney Crosby and Matt Niskanen both left the game early after this high cross-check. No word at this writing whether Crosby will be back for Game 4.

On top of that, Conor Sheary left the game with a bloodied face after a collision with teammate Patric Hörnqvist. His status, too, is unknown at this time. [CBS Sports]

Earlier, Crosby, the Columbus Blue JacketsSergei Bobrovsky and the Edmonton OilersConnor McDavid were announced as finalists for the 2016-17 Hart Trophy, awarded to the NHL’s most valuable player.

Center depth matters, says Scott Cullen, especially to the Caps in Game 3. [TSN]

Meanwhile, in the #MDK, a post-surgery Kevin Fiala sent his fans (and the Nashville Predators) a thumbs-up via Instagram.

The Stars already have a John Klingberg and a Julius Honka, so...maybe they want a few more just like ’em. Ryan Kennedy says defenses built on speed and skill are showing advantages over those that focus on size. [The Hockey News]

Former Montreal Canadiens head coach Michel Therrien is “in the running” for the Florida Panthers job, according to Sportsnet’s Eric Engels. [Sportsnet]

Elsewhere, the Buffalo Sabres have reportedly met with six candidates for their general manager position, including Nashville Predators assistant GM Paul Fenton. [CBC]

How should a new GM approach the analytics movement? Five For Howling has posted a long-form story on John Chayka, a data guy in a world of “hockey men.”

From The Players’ Tribune: Hall of Fame broadcaster Mike Lange has called Pens games since 1974, and he has stories about everything from great players to memorable catch phrases to his first impression of Pittsburgh (i.e., the smell).

Hayley Wickenheiser, one of Team Canada’s all-time greats, will receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Saskatchewan in recognition of her retirement. [Sportsnet]

Finally: OK, so Edmonton gets like eleventy-eleven first overalls in a row, but this year’s draft is a shocking miscarriage of justice or something. Whatever. But it’s interesting to contemplate a world with Jack Eichel in Victory Green. Enjoy.