It’s still early in the offseason, and hope is high that the Dallas Stars will make the most of it. Where will the team’s plans meet reality?
Stars media stalwarts Mike Heika, Brien Rea and Owen Newkirk are taking on some big questions about the franchise in a new feature. The first edition of “Take 5” features some interesting discussion about the forward corps, starting with shooting Star Mats Zuccarello:
Mike Heika: If Zuccarello feels that he can get a five-year deal, that could make negotiations a little bit tougher. Because Zuccarello has played his entire career in New York, he might want to see what the interest is on the East Coast, and that might mean he would want to test unrestricted free agency on July 1. He’s earned the right, and he might just tell the Stars he wants to wait. The Stars could be patient and allow Zuccarello to study the market in hopes he would still find his best fit back in Dallas, but there are other factors here.
Owen Newkirk: To be blunt, Mats Zuccarello makes the Stars a better team. We have heard this fact from Jim Nill, Jim Montgomery -- basically the entire 2018-19 Stars roster and pretty much all of the Stars fans with which I have had the pleasure of interacting. Every aspect of the player received rave reviews; from his speed and tenacity, to his world-class passing ability and his seemingly instant chemistry with the roster both on and off ice. Of course, as a pending UFA, the ball is entirely in Zuccarello’s court. Understandably, he kept his cards very close to his chest when addressing the media after the playoff run came to an end. But I think the short stint he had in Texas showed that he’s not only a good fit, but that he can come in and have a chance to win with this group right now.
The panel also goes into their expectations for Roope Hintz, whether tempered or lofty:
Brien Rea: What I find so intriguing about Hintz is his unique skillset relative to other forwards. I don’t think he is a 30-goal or 50-assist type of player for this team. You’d think his size (6-foot-3, 215 pounds) makes him more of a defensive forward, but the guy is ridiculously FAST. He was effective at faceoffs in the postseason, drives puck possession around the ice and attacks the puck when he doesn’t have it. This causes opponents problems and creates opportunities for his team. He’s the kind of player where the stat sheet won’t always give him credit for the elevation he brings on the ice.
Newkirk: Not only do I think Hintz is the real deal, but I also believe that he is the second top-six center that the team was lacking for much of the past two seasons.... Although it took Hintz much of the 2018-19 season to really break through on a consistent basis, I see big things for him moving forward. His unique combination of hulking size and blazing speed is ideal for today’s NHL game. The fact that he was still the fastest player on the ice in Game 7 against St. Louis -- with a broken foot -- says it all. I think finishing will be his biggest hurdle to overcome in the 2019-20 season, but I have high hopes for a strong sophomore campaign.
There’s more at the official site. [Dallas Stars]
Heika goes all Three-Eyed Raven in his latest column.
At the 2019 IIHF Worlds, Radek Faksa and the Czech Republic move on – but John Klingberg and Team Sweden are done, thanks to an overtime loss to Finland.
But Klinger couldn’t leave the tournament without giving you one more clip for the highlight reel.
Around The League(s)
The fact that Joe Thornton hasn’t won a Stanley Cup yet is pretty depressing...but there are other future Hall of Famers in a similar boat, including Jason Spezza.
WATCH | Joe Thornton will have to wait for another shot at Lord Stanley, but he's certainly not the only one https://t.co/2HHOjSUXTY— Hockey Night in Canada (@hockeynight) May 25, 2019
Slava Voynov has effectively beaten his domestic-violence suspension. Will an NHL team still hire him? Ken Campbell looks to history.
Slava Voynov has more than a few obstacles to overcome if he is to return to the NHL, but will a team take a chance on him? https://t.co/XHOUcGG1uY— The Hockey News (@TheHockeyNews) May 25, 2019
Are you a Mario Lemieux or a Mike Modano? The IIHF’s Hall of Fame personality quiz is clickbait, but it’s fun. (I got Teemu Selanne, so I win, probably.)
other real IIHF news, the 2019 Annual Congress has set the venues for the World Championships through 2025.
BREAKING CONGRESS NEWS: The 2023 #IIHFWorlds has been allocated to St. Petersburg (Russia) which aims to build the biggest ice hockey arena in the world. 2024 to Prague & Ostrava (CZE), 2025 to Sweden.— IIHF (@IIHFHockey) May 24, 2019
READ MORE: https://t.co/V7XpYxRYMy
Photo: S. Fedoseyev / @hcSKA pic.twitter.com/Cf0obUHDln
And speaking of guys named Mario...as the greatest weekend in motorsport begins, the NHL is making the most of the Stanley Cup Finals’ proximity to the Indianapolis 500.
You may know Keleigh Milliorn as The Dallas Stars Sign Lady. But she’s also a fighter for cancer research...and up for Leukemia Lymphoma Society Woman of the Year. Let fellow celebrity Stars fan Chloe Brown tell you about it – and help spread the word. Enjoy.