After spending all year playing in a condensed schedule, the Dallas Stars are now one of the first teams to finish their 2020-21 regular season. The Stars have missed the playoffs, so they’ll have a head start on the offseason.
Perhaps the biggest item on the agenda is an extension for Miro Heiskanen. As a restricted free agent, the question for Heiskanen won’t be if he gets one, but rather for how long;
For Heiskanen, a bridge deal would make sense given the current financial situation of the NHL and where things are headed post-COVID-19. By the lofty standards that have been set for him, Heiskanen is coming off of a relatively down year but is young and is going to get even better. Cashing out in 2024 as a 24-year-old could be the more lucrative option.
Another big question is what to do with the goalie logjam on the roster. Jake Oettinger has proved himself an NHL-caliber goaltender, and might even be the No. 1 netminder next season. With Ben Bishop returning from injury, that puts Anton Khudobin in a tight spot:
If Khudobin doesn’t get selected [in the expansion draft], the Stars need to figure out how much confidence they have in Ben Bishop’s knee. If they’re confident he’ll be back, at least in a capacity to play a backup role, the Stars need to find a trade partner for Khudobin. If there isn’t as much confidence in Bishop’s health, then Khudobin is an option to return.
You can read more from Saad Yousuf here.
ICYMI, Jason Robertson helped the Stars finish the season on a high note with an overtime win over the Chicago Blackhawks:
The method was fitting. The hero was fitting. The roster was fitting. The Stars season was destined to end this way. https://t.co/XvoReeqthI— Matthew DeFranks (@MDeFranks) May 11, 2021
Speaking of Robertson...
Around the League
The seeding is still up in the air outside of the Central Division, but the 16 playoff teams are set:
Might this postseason be the final rodeo for some of the NHL’s most beloved veterans?
Five Playoff-Bound Players Who Could Retire This Summer— The Hockey News (@TheHockeyNews) May 10, 2021
These guys have accomplished a lot in their @NHL careers but could follow Anaheim's Ryan Miller out the door if they end on a high note, writes @Nick_Emanuelli: https://t.co/96BXQNr2aO
Jack Eichel made headlines yesterday in his exit interview:
Here's what Jack Eichel had to say about being "disconnected" with @BuffaloSabres about his injury, leaving his future with the team very much in doubt.— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) May 10, 2021
Plus, does he believe the Sabres would even grant a trade request? #NHL https://t.co/DOf7C52IDw
Due to injuries and salary cap constraints, the Golden Knights will only have 15 skaters on the ice Monday when they host the Avalanche. It will be the first time since 2010 that a team will be short three skaters.https://t.co/iCp8knsug5— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) May 11, 2021
Also from last night, ex-Stars Gemel Smith helped form the NHL’s first all-black starting forward line:
Three Black players for the @TBLightning made @NHL history on Monday when forming the Lightning starting forward line against the Florida Panthers.— The Athletic (@TheAthletic) May 11, 2021
◻️ Daniel Walcott
◻️ Mathieu Joseph
◻️ Gemel Smith
@WallyD19 @MathJoseph7 @gemel_smithhttps://t.co/Bz9dpRSCIH
John Tortorella is out, but the Columbus Blue Jackets need a lot more change than that if they want to get competitive:
The Reset Has Begun in Columbus— The Hockey News (@TheHockeyNews) May 10, 2021
Coach John Tortorella is out, but the team needs more than just a new bench boss. Can the Blue Jackets find the talent to get back to the playoffs in the coming years? @THNRyanKennedy has more on the #BlueJackets: https://t.co/TTfh1ugznU
Finally, who are the rising stars of the coaching and front office world? Emily Kaplan asked around: