It’s not Dallas Stars season until that guy who’s somehow always in your Twitter timeline starts talking about trading John Klingberg. The vast majority of DBD’ers know (or at least know of) someone like this. The vast majority are also knowledgeable enough about the Stars’ game to allow that everyone is entitled to an opinion, even when it is silly and wrong.
Saad Yousuf has decided to meet the issue head on. His latest piece in The Athletic starts from the proposition that the organization might actually be serious about trading Klingberg before they have to pay him what he’s worth. As it turns out, such a deal would present serious questions from the jump:
For a player to be considered a trade asset, he has to hit the sweet spot: good enough to bring back a decent haul but dispensable enough that his absence would be offset by whatever the trade return is and/or existing pieces on the roster. Klingberg checks the first box. He certainly could fetch the Stars a flashy name who could provide excitement even beyond just being an injection of new blood. But the second part is where things fall short. Klingberg isn’t a perfect defenseman, but he is a perfect fit for what the Stars are trying to do.
That’s held especially true since last March, when the COVID-19 stoppage provided head coach Rick Bowness the chance to put his fingerprints on the team’s identity. The biggest change came for defensemen. Bowness emphasized the importance of activating blue-liners on the rush and getting more involved in the offense. The new approach worked: A team that once struggled to score was now able to do so, providing Dallas new dimensions to win games on their run to the Stanley Cup Final.
Extend this thought experiment into playing, coaching and roster management issues, and it falls apart completely:
“Take it back to last year in the bubble: John was our best defenseman,” [head coach Rick] Bowness recently said on 96.7/1310 The Ticket. “He competed hard, he moved the puck. Everybody was talking about Miro. Listen, Miro’s a great young defenseman, and he is in his own right. But sometimes Miro gets all the attention and John doesn’t get as much as he deserves … (John’s) doing everything you want your elite defenseman to do. We feel very fortunate to have two in Miro and John being elite players like that.”
I didn’t write this story intending to compare Heiskanen and Klingberg. but it’s necessary to bring Heiskanen up because too often, people fall under the impression that the Finn’s emergence makes Klingberg expendable. Heiskanen is incredible in his own right; it seems likely he’ll one day win a Norris Trophy. There’s no doubt he’ll receive a monster contract from the Stars this upcoming offseason. But that shouldn’t diminish Klingberg’s value. The defensive core is not a one-man job, and that’s especially true for Dallas, a team whose identity is heavily influenced by its defensemen and goalkeepers. Klingberg manning one pairing and Heiskanen the other has meant each playing about 23 minutes per game this season, allowing the Stars to play an elite defenseman more than two-thirds of each contest.
Here’s the link to the full story. Consider sharing it with that guy. [The Athletic DFW]
Mike Heika previews tonight’s rematch with the Chicago Blackhawks...
...while Matthew DeFranks deliveres the report from yesterday’s practice.
Stars welcome back Anton Khudobin from disciplinary scratch, Andrej Sekera from COVID-19 protocols https://t.co/QWo5n8tdMj— Matthew DeFranks (@MDeFranks) February 9, 2021
Spoiler alert: Yeah, it was this simple. Don’t panic.
Anton Khudobin said he was late for practice Saturday and that’s why he was scratched Sunday.— Matthew DeFranks (@MDeFranks) February 8, 2021
Around The Leagues
Panic At The #Disco
- Jack Roslovic scored a great last-minute goal, but Patrik Laine rode some pine as the Columbus Blue Jackets sneaked past the Carolina Hurricanes, 3-2. [The Cannon]
- And the Tampa Bay Lightning continued their season-to-date beatdown of the Nashville Predators with a 4-1 win last night. [On The Forecheck]
It’s never not public when Torts benches a player. Just sayin’.
#CBJ coach John Tortorella would not say why he benched Patrik Laine for the final 26:19 of Monday’s 3-2 win over Carolina. But wasn’t just about the “blown assignment” on the ‘Canes 2-2 goal. pic.twitter.com/C3ZAsCWTXl— Aaron Portzline (@Aportzline) February 9, 2021
“He was playing through a lot of pain ... and it’s caught up to him.” The Hawks have an update on Brent Seabrook, and it’s...not that good.
Brent Seabrook's back injury — suffered just days before training camp began — sounds like it will keep him out for a while.— Ben Pope (@BenPopeCST) February 9, 2021
Here's the Blackhawks' full, long-awaited update on the aging defenseman: https://t.co/im0XcrFHSQ
Elsewhere, this is probably the last thing the Buffalo Sabres need.
I get that some of the North Division teams were probably having acid flashbacks to the playoffs bubble, but is this really the correct response?
Teams competing in the North Division will be permitted to dine inside certain Ontario restaurants despite ongoing stay-at-home orders within the province https://t.co/6YZX3yHbEn— Hockey Night in Canada (@hockeynight) February 9, 2021
Greetings From Scenic Cedar Park
The Texas Stars got a win, and Thomas Harley got the game-winner with his first professional goal, so it was pretty good night on the road all the way around.
Oh, so you want to see it?...
Thomas Harley's first goal: pic.twitter.com/VRQx7FAsW8— 100 Degree Hockey (@100degreehockey) February 9, 2021
Mark it down: Jason Robertson’s first NHL goal. May there be many more.