After making trades for defensman Ben Lovejoy from the New Jersey Devils and forward Mats Zuccarello from the New York Rangers (and then subsequently losing him to a broken arm for at least four weeks), the Dallas Stars were looking at potential improvements on the market for their forward group.
According to several media members, general manager Jim Nill worked the phones today but didn’t see anything worth pulling the trigger on after his moves yesterday. “We sat pat today,” Nill said. “We were in a lot of discussions but in the end, we made a lot of our moves a couple days ago and some prior moves than that so we got to a point where we’re comfortable where we’re at and move forward from here.”
The team as-is does still sit in a playoff spot. It’s possible that they looked at the asking prices for rentals such as Mark Stone and Wayne Simmonds and, after trading away picks days ago for help, realized they weren’t willing to pay whatever the equivalent might have been without many draft picks to work with.
Instead, general manager Jim Nill decided the prices weren’t something he was willing to pay. And though many of the teams behind them in the Wild Card race (Colorado Avalanche, Minnesota Wild, and even the St. Louis Blues ahead of Dallas in the standings all made moves today), the roster as-is now has fought their way to a playoff spot.
Now, they’ll have to fight to keep it as they wait for some players to get healthy and be added back to the roster, such as the newly-acquired Zuccarello (out 4 weeks minimum) and Tyler Pitlick, who should be ready to return near the end of the season after injuring his wrist and having surgery to repair it.
The team is what it is now. We’ll see if that’s enough to make the playoffs this season. Winning some road games on this road trip would go a long way to assuaging some fans’ worries after the team didn’t make another move this trade deadline season with Zuccarello going down just two periods of game play after being acquired.
Jamie Benn Injury Update
Head coach Jim Montgomery, speaking with The Ticket radio show earlier, termed captain Jamie Benn as ‘doubtful’ for the team’s matchup versus the Vegas Golden Knights Tuesday night. Benn missed most of the last game on Sunday versus the Chicago Blackhawks with an upper-body injury. He apparently injured something when the team played the Carolina Hurricanes Saturday and tried to continue playing through it yesterday but, after a big hit, couldn’t continue.
We’ll have to wait to see if Zuccarello’s initial four-week time frame for return is revised after he meets with the team doctors in Dallas in the next couple of days. Without a practice today, we’ll have to see if guys like Andrew Cogliano is still good to go after taking a hi-stick to the face on Sunday as well.