The NHL would really, really, really like to finish the 2019-20 season. They’re hoping to make some of the decisions required within the next several days. But an undertaking this large and complex will take work, and planning, and a certain amount of imagination.
In his latest piece for The Athletic, Sean Shapiro examines the issues teams and players will face league-wide, and teases out how they will affect the Dallas Stars in particular. What he finds is a labyrinth of competing concerns that every team, including the Stars, will have to negotiate.
Many of these issues also dovetail with each other. For a prime example, look no further than one of the Stars’ key forwards:
“If you have a player like Radek Faksa, whose contract expires on June 30, and you are playing in July and August, are there ways that we can extend their contract? Obviously for playing purposes, but (also) for visas and immigration purposes,” Stars assistant GM Mark Janko said. “Can we get these players, like Radek, back from somewhere like the Czech Republic without worrying about immigration issues and how long he’ll be staying?
“You don’t expect a pandemic to come in and extend a playing season past June 30 into July or September,” Janko added. “So when we applied for Faksa’s visa when we signed the contract (in 2017) for a three-year deal, you do it from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2020.”
Most teams, including the Stars, would love to bring their best prospects into postseason action as black aces. But potential changes to the Stanley Cup playoffs format could affect how much or even whether they can participate, Shapiro reports:
It’s assumed that players who have been in the minor leagues all season will be eligible for the taxi squad, but the league will have to determine what this means for junior players and prospects in each system. In a typical season, a prospect could join the AHL or NHL team as a playoff black ace with their CHL season completed. The CHL is officially over which means, in theory, so are the prospects’ seasons.
For the Stars, this would lead to a question of whether Thomas Harley or Ty Dellandrea would be allowed to part of the taxi squad. Neither would likely play, but if they were part of the taxi squad they could theoretically play summer NHL games if needed.
And playoffs action adds a new dimension to the question of whether the Stars can afford a new contract for Anton Khudobin:
Khudobin’s value — and this is my speculation — could also ramp up if a condensed playoff format leads to teams needing to use more than one goalie in a series. If Khudobin is able to win playoff games (the only thing lacking on an incredible resume), his monetary demand could rise.
There’s much more under the link. [The Athletic DFW]
“Go for the king, and the peasants will follow.” Steve Ott has some wisdom on the fine art of agitation.
Did somebody say, “Shut up and take my money”? I’m pretty sure somebody said that.
Pre-Order Your Dallas Stars @FOCOusa Gaiter Scarves & Face Covers Today! https://t.co/g9hc23V6y3— Stars Hangar (@StarsHangar) April 28, 2020
A Portion of the Proceeds from the sale of the face covers benefit Feeding America.
Continue to Stay Safe Friends! #GoStars pic.twitter.com/Wf5UWuMyZD
Around The League(s)
Can the NHL do a full 82 games if next season starts during the winter holidays? They seem ready to try it – in part because of how long it may take to finish this season.
Sean McIndoe has been hanging out at DBD, apparently. Now if we just had a prospect we acquired with a draft pick we got from the Toronto Maple Leafs....
If you'd like to read more in-depth reporting like this as I slowly lose my mind without sports, remember that you can get a free 90-day trial to all of The Athletic's content. https://t.co/7BP4bdTcLg— Down Goes Brown (@DownGoesBrown) April 24, 2020
Matt Larkin is blue-skying NHL Olympic teams for 2022, and his pairing of John Klingberg and Oliver Ekman-Larsson may be relevant to your interests.
Speaking of thought experiments, imagine a world in which the Stars drafted William Karlsson.
2011 NHL Redraft: Kucherov moves up from late second round to No. 1; Gaudreau climbs 100 spots, gets to go home to New Jerseyhttps://t.co/lCu5CNDuaC— NHL.com (@NHLdotcom) May 2, 2020
Greetings From Beautiful Boise
Of course, there are some things that no resumption of play can give back...or take away. Ask the Idaho Steelheads.
It is anyone’s guess who would have won the Kelly Cup in the canceled 2019-20 ECHL season. However, here are the teams that were playing best when the season ended:— ECHL Stats (@EchlStats) April 13, 2020
Star player for the Nashville Predators? Sounds like a tough job. Enjoy.