Earlier last week, fans saw Devin Shore traded to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for the speedy winger Andrew Cogliano. With the trade deadline on February 25 looming and the Stars trying to maintain their current playoff position, trade talks are beginning to pick up. Elliot Friedman had this to say about Dallas in his latest “31 Thoughts: Buyers, sellers emerging ahead of NHL Trade Deadline”:
I don’t think Dallas is done, either. There’ve been Brett Ritchie rumours and I think they are looking to see if anyone wants to take a chance with Valeri Nichushkin. That return’s been very disappointing. He hasn’t scored in 37 games.
If you’ve kept up with the Stars this season, you’d know the only area that needs to be addressed is at the forward position. They have a top-tier defense and goaltending tandem in the league, but are getting anchored down by not scoring enough goals. The Dallas Stars currently rank 28th in goals per game, 26th in shot attempts, 21st in scoring chances, 20th in power play goals, etc., — you get the picture.
Important to Note
The Stars currently have $1,617,543 in cap space. As that might not seem a lot, they also have the option to put any of Marc Methot, Stephen Johns, or Martin Hanzal on LTIR. In summary, putting a player on LTIR allows the team to use their cap space granted that the player don’t come back onto the roster that season. So essentially, putting Methot on LTIR would give the Dallas Stars an extra $4.9 million in cap space, but he is not eligible to play another game this season. The same goes for Johns and Hanzal. For what it’s worth, my guess is that only Methot will go on LTIR, with the hope that Johns and Hanzal could eventually be healthy by playoffs. So, if you see Methot get moved onto the LTIR... a move is surely coming. Last to note, acquiring a player’s cap at the deadline is pro-rated. For example, let’s say all of fans’ wildest dreams come true and the Stars go for Artemi Panarin. Although this is unlikely as he has a $6.0 million cap hit. Due to the trade deadline pro-rated discount, the Stars would only really need about $1,355,000 in cap space to acquire him as a rental this year.
Wayne Simmonds (PHI)
The Philadelphia Flyers have the “Open For Trading” sign out in the yard and there’s been heavy speculation that Simmonds is on the way out. He is currently second on TSN’s Trade Bait List. With 15 goals as of writing this, he would be a nice fit in the Stars’ top six. The one thing Dallas really needs is a player who can put the puck in the net. Simmonds has put up 20 or more goals in his last six years in the league. He consistently scores more goals than assists, so playing alongside a line of playmakers, like Cogliano and Jason Spezza, could instantly give the Stars a much needed second-line threat. Spezza has been excellent in passing and shot assists this year so there could be some real chemistry between the two. If you’re into analytics and fancy stats, Simmonds is sixth in the league for expected goals and first in expected power play goals. Coincidentally, the Stars did have a scout at the Flyers game last week. Simmonds currently has a $3.975 million cap hit.
- 2019 conditional second round pick (2019 pick becomes a first rounder if Stars advance to the second round of the 2018-19 playoffs)
- 2020 third round pick
- Adam Mascherin
(Comparable: Evander Kane was traded last February for a 2019 conditional first, 2020 fourth, and Daniel O’Regan.)
Matt Duchene (OTT)
Matt Duchene is one of the highest prizes coming into the trade deadline. He currently is first on TSN’s Trade Bait List with 20 goals and 45 points on the season. The 27-year-old is a solidified top-six center in the league and would be quite the sight in a one-two punch with Tyler Seguin. He will become an UFA at the end of the year, so the Ottawa Senators will be looking to trade him if he decides to not re-sign for them. He currently holds a $6.0 million cap hit, so the Stars would most likely need Methot on LTIR to bring him onboard. He has hit the 50-point mark in four of his last five seasons. With Duchene being a natural center, it would make the most sense to move Spezza to the wing, where he has played just fine. Reminder that Duchene would initially be a rental, so a trade here could look different if he comes with some term.
Not-so-fun fact: The Stars have had only one second line forward hit 50 points since 2012 (Patrick Sharp, 55 points in 2015-16).
- 2019 first round pick
- 2020 second round pick
- Fredrik Karlström
(Comparable: Eric Staal for two second round picks and Aleksi Saarela.)
Mats Zuccarello (NYR)
The New York Rangers find themselves 11 points out of a playoff spot as they start the process on their rebuild. One of their intriguing assets at this deadline will be pending UFA Mats Zuccarello. The 31-year-old winger would give the Stars a much needed 50-plus points guy on the second line wing at a fairly cheap price. Zuccarello has averaged 56 points in his last five seasons and would be a hefty upgrade as a top-six forward on the roster. The question the Stars have with Zuccarello is if they would want to sign him to a new contract this summer. The Stars really need a winger under the age of 28 with a proven record going forward, so would signing the over-30 Zuccarello after a rental be the best idea? That can be debated. However, there is no debate that as a rental for this season he could help the Stars get into the postseason. From there, anything can happen.
- 2019 second round pick
- Jakob Stenqvist
(Comparable: Michael Grabner for a second round pick and Yegor Rykov.)
Andre Burakovsky (WSH)
Burakovsky probably has the most buzz around him concerning a trade to Dallas. Recently, Sean Shapiro tweeted out that “Stars and Caps have been scouting each other heavily lately” with Burakovsky as the main target. This potential trade actually has me, personally, the most excited. Burakovsky is a 23-year-old Swede winger who was picked in the first round by the Washington Capitals in 2013. In his last two years, he’s put up 45 and 35 point-paced seasons. He comes with a $3.0 million cap hit and RFA status this summer, so the Stars would be able to control his next contract. This year, he’s been in a bit of a slump with only 11 points in 42 games. However, he is ranked 209th out of 250 players in IPP (Individual Point Percentage), a regressive metric that helps determine unlucky seasons. So there is evidence he is very much just in an unlucky down year. Burakovsky is known for his speed and skill on the wing, which is something the Stars desperately need. Acquiring Burakovsky and having him play in a top-six role could be enough to get him back on track for his 40 point seasons, something I think we would’ve all loved to see Nichuskin turn into.
- Valeri Nichushkin (or Julius Honka)
- Third round pick
Jakob Silfverberg (ANA)
There’s speculation that the Anaheim Ducks aren’t finished trading this season and there is buzz surrounding the upcoming UFA winger Jakob Silfverberg. He is a 28-year-old right wing for the Anaheim Ducks and would be a nice fit for the Stars. He has put up 40 points in each of his last four seasons and is on pace to hit that mark once again despite playing on one of the worst offensive teams in the league. He comes with a $3.75 million cap hit that expires this summer, so at face value this trade would be for a rental. However, a deal could be made to spice up the trade in the event Silfverberg re-signs with the Stars. The Ducks had scouts at the Stars’ game against Winnipeg Jets on Saturday night, so there could be some communications regarding Silfverberg already ongoing.
- 2019 second round pick
- 2020 second round pick
- 2021 third round pick
(Comparable: Tomas Tatar for a 2018 first, 2019 second, 2020 third.)
Is there another player you think the Stars should consider at the trade deadline? Comment below with your choice and what the cost would be!