The Dallas Stars love their roster and with good reason. The team has weathered early-season struggles to become better in almost every metric as the season wears on. But the Central Division is brutal enough already, and if the competition gets better at the NHL trade deadline, can the Stars afford not to?
Mike Heika of The Dallas Morning News first examines some of the most obvious candidates for a position of potential need – powering up the team’s top-six forwards:
The New York Rangers are looking to move Rick Nash, a 6-4, 212-pound winger who has scored 30 or more goals eight times in his career and can become a UFA in the summer.
Still, it would be a tight fit. Nash is only 33, but he also has just 17 goals among 27 points this season, so there is some risk there. What’s more, the Rangers want a ton in return.
That might make the Stars more closely study a player such as Montreal’s Max Pacioretty or Ottawa’s Mike Hoffman. Both are younger and both have contracts, so they would be longer-term acquisitions. Pacioretty is 29 and makes $4.5 million this year and next. Hoffman is 28 and makes $5.2 million for each of the two years after this one.
Could another Ranger, Michael Grabner, provide an extra something for a deep Stars run? With 23 goals in 54 games this season so far, he’s performing like a top-tier target at a fraction of the top-tier price. Yet anticipated demand could drive his price higher than his $1.65 million cap hit. Could the Stars (or their fans) live with it?
Grabner, 30, is fast, defensively responsible, and might add exactly what the Stars need. Unfortunately, he also could do the same for six or seven other playoff teams, so the demand could be high the closer we get to Feb. 26.
That means the Stars might have to consider moving some young players, and that’s where the dance begins. How much are they willing to give up to possibly get better this season?
Read more at Mike’s place. [SportsDayDFW]
Elsewhere in Heika: Mike takes a look at five forwards the Stars might consider before the trade deadline. [SportsDayDFW]
He also points out that the team could add a key player on the blueline just by getting Marc Methot back from injury.
The Stars will be back on the ice tomorrow, and from then until April it will be an all-out race to lock down their playoff spot.
Around the League(s)
There were only three NHL games last night, and the Colorado Avalanche featured in the only #MDK matchup. The Avs beat the Montreal Canadiens in the Patrick Roy Bowl 2-0, and Semyon Varlamov earned the shutout with 43 saves. [Mile High Hockey]
Sports fans often take out their frustrations on the coach. New York Islanders fans want to talk to the coach’s boss: Their “Snow Must Go” campaign has already raised around $3,000 to post an anti-Garth Snow billboard within a half-mile of Barclays Center.
‘Snow Must Go:’ Islanders fans raise money to protest GM https://t.co/f08gVejgos— Olympic Hockey on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) February 14, 2018
The Hockey News’ power rankings continue, even as Ken Campbell boycotts the NHL for its 2018 Olympics fail (oh, like you weren’t thinking it). Matt Larkin, in relief, put the Stars in the top 10...but where?
Also at THN: Jared Clinton names five role players, from Thomas Vanek to Jean-Gabriel Pageau, who could be exceptional trade-deadline values for some lucky team. [THN]
The expansion bid has barely been filed, but the Seattle hockey community is already abuzz with excitement. Bill Wixey has more about what an NHL franchise could mean for the area. [Q13 FOX]
TSN’s Gord Miller reports that the IIHF has chosen World Juniors host countries for the next 14 years. Make your plans now.
World Junior news, the IIHF has reportedly picked these host countries for the next 14 WJCs:— Gord Miller (@GMillerTSN) February 13, 2018
2020 Czech Rep
2028 Czech Rep
2018 Winter Olympics Action
John Klingberg doesn’t get to play in PyeongChang, but he does get to root for his brother, Carl. Team Sweden faced off against Norway in Group C action early this morning, Central time.
Growing up, @JohnKlingberg and his brother, @CarlKlingberg, always wanted to one-up each other. But John will be cheering Carl on as he and Sweden go for gold at the #Olympics. https://t.co/Iukn6nSwOS— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) February 14, 2018
Meanwhile, the very best female players in the world are competing, NHL or no. Exhibit A: last night’s preliminary game between the USA and Canada. Canada won 2-1, and the officials were reviewing for a tie goal even as time expired. If you missed it, you’re in luck: These teams will almost certainly meet again in the gold-medal final.
Canada bests Team USA 2-1 in women’s Olympic hockey preliminary match https://t.co/DP2O4wQovV— Mary Clarke (@marycclarke) February 15, 2018
These tweets by Joe Pack sum up the entire game with two photos from the final seconds.
Greetings From Scenic Cedar Park
Have you seen the Texas Stars’ hockey Valentines? Would you like to?
Looking for a last minute Valentine? We may have a few options.. pic.twitter.com/k3QsakgKRI— Texas Stars (@TexasStars) February 12, 2018
Justin Dowling, Austin Fyten, Landon Bow, Roope Hintz and more were immortalized in pictures and puns.
Gavin Bay-reuther jokes: So nice, they had to do them twice.
Red lines are Red, Blue lines are Blue. It's Valentine's Day and these are for you! pic.twitter.com/vf5YIiHD9a— Texas Stars (@TexasStars) February 14, 2018
In the wake of yesterday’s mass shooting at a Broward County high school, the Florida Panthers offered a moment of silence and messages of support for the victims and survivors.