The Stanley Cup playoffs are over, but the postseason action has just begun. So what do the Dallas Stars do with two drafts, free agency, and the deals they need to close within their own roster?
Fans have questions. The Dallas Morning News’ Matthew DeFranks provided some answers in his latest mailbag. The squad’s lack of scoring is turning into an evergreen topic among the faithful, and DeFranks considers free agency as one solution:
The targets are there out in free agency. Blake Coleman, Barclay Goodrow, Alex Wennberg, Brandon Saad, Zach Hyman, David Krejci and Mike Hoffman will all be middle-six forwards available in unrestricted free agency, with varying costs associated with each. Each one could come in and help the Stars immediately build the depth that they were lacking last season, whether due to injuries or roster construction.
In trades, Viktor Arvidsson ($4.25 million cap hit) could have been a fit for Dallas before he was dealt to Los Angeles on Thursday [July 1]. Dallas might not have the trade capital and cap space to acquire Buffalo’s Sam Reinhart (due a qualifying offer of at least $5.2 million). Maybe Tampa Bay tries to move Alex Killorn ($4.45 million) to soothe its cap crunch? If Arizona eats part of Phil Kessel’s $6.8 million cap hit, the winger could work in Dallas. Should Anaheim begin shopping Rickard Rakell ($3.789 million), the Stars could make sense.
DeFranks comes to every discussion with microstats in hand, so it’s no surprise that he has some observations about how the Stars can improve their game if they can lean on more pure scoring talent:
The Stars are in the “Creating off Forecheck” quadrant as a team that’s slightly above average on the forecheck and slightly below average off the rush. You’ll notice something about the other above-average forechecking teams: Of the eight teams to win a playoff series this year, seven of them were above-average on the forecheck. Winnipeg is the only team that was not.
That includes the high-flying Avalanche and the Panthers. These are teams that combined dogged forechecking with offensive skill to become successful, though they also rely on production off the rush. The Stars, I believe, can play this style and be successful (particularly in the playoffs: Hello, Islanders!) with another injection of skill.
But he doesn’t neglect the big question of Miro’s next (two) deal[s]:
For Heiskanen, the expiration of a three-year contract should be when the NHL is exiting its flat-cap era, opening up spending potential across the league. It would be when the Stars only have one more year on Jamie Benn’s contract with a $9.5 million cap hit, opening up more funds. With a bridge contract now, Heiskanen would be set up to massively cash in on his third one, especially considering he’ll likely be producing more offensively in the coming three years than he did last season.
There’s more under the link – including Matt’s thoughts on Ben Bishop, Riley Damiani, and other hot topics – including a question from our own Tyler Mair! [SportsDayDFW]
About that NHL expansion draft...there will be a list, but you won’t see it for several days yet.
The list is due on July 17. https://t.co/VOWMh75hYp— Mike Heika (@MikeHeika) July 7, 2021
“I know I’m going to have tough days ahead of me, but I finally feel prepared to take those days in and fight through them.” Stephen Johns has Done The Thing, as the kids say.
Mission Accomplished. #MentalMiles pic.twitter.com/9DBr6F2Zr1— Stephen Johns (@stjohns28) July 5, 2021
Sean Shapiro reflected on how #MentalMiles has evolved, in the space of three short weeks, “from a hashtag to a community.”
Stephen Johns is nearing the end of his #MentalMiles journey across the country, but it's just the start of a movement to hopefully change hockey culture. On the importance of stories like Johns and Bobby Ryan, mental health, and knowing you aren't alone https://t.co/PoEFEHhi3n pic.twitter.com/6ajECimHTY— Sean Shapiro (@seanshapiro) July 4, 2021
Around The Leagues
Tampa Bay Lightning, Stanley Cup, back to back, blah blah blah. Read more about it.
Looking for a #StanleyCupFinal story?— Sarah Goldstein (@sarahgold8) July 8, 2021
@JoeSmithTB on @TBLightning legacy https://t.co/rG7IPHAqrF
@PierreVLeBrun on repeating https://t.co/BApXGCD0i8
@Benbishop30 congratulates Vasilevskiy https://t.co/G9c1xOOFKQ
@ArponBasu on @CanadiensMTL https://t.co/rnnaQlaVD6 pic.twitter.com/vER8BS0ADZ
Meanwhile, CBC Sports’ Jesse Campigotto has put together a handy milestone list for the busy July ahead of us.
The underdog Canadiens made a spirited run at becoming the first Canadian team in 28 years to win the Stanley Cup, but they were no match for a Tampa team that's probably the closest thing to a dynasty we'll see in the salary-cap era. https://t.co/XP6hS3s0FR— Hockey Night in Canada (@hockeynight) July 9, 2021
Now that the actual Pandemic Season is at long last dust...there may be a few things about it worth keeping. Greg Wyshynski can elaborate, if you have ESPN+.
The pandemic grind of the 2020-21 NHL season is finally over. But it wasn't all bad. What should stay and what should go for the NHL from this unprecedented season. My column: https://t.co/Qt0jViE2xY— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) July 9, 2021
Sources say that terrifying goal assassin Vladimir Tarasenko wants out of Missouri – but the St. Louis Blues are staying mum.
AP source: Winger Vladimir Tarasenko asks St. Louis Blues for trade.— AP Sports (@AP_Sports) July 8, 2021
The Brad Aldrich sexual-misconduct scandal continues to metastasize – and this time it’s engulfed Miami University of Ohio.
A university in Ohio is for the first time publicly confirming there were two sexual assault claims involving former Chicago Blackhawks Coach Bradley Aldrich during his five-month stint there after leaving Illinoishttps://t.co/CMdeRlN6Fn— Tony Arnold (@tonyjarnold) July 9, 2021
Greetings From Scenic Cedar Park
Have you checked out the Texas Stars’ official podcast? Team USA’s Ryan Shea and 100 Degree Hockey mastermind Stephen Meserve joined the latest episode.
Stephen Meserve (@100degreehockey) jumped on this week to put a bow on the #txstars 2020-21 season and defenseman Ryan Shea talks about his trip to Latvia for the World Championship. Hear it all on Episode 15 of the podcast.— Texas Stars (@TexasStars) July 8, 2021
: https://t.co/BfctGPkiy2 pic.twitter.com/KoUchF0EvJ
In case you missed the Independence Day print edition of The Dallas Morning News...your regular Robo fix is here. Enjoy.
On the back of today’s @SportsDayDFW. pic.twitter.com/gViqPjDs2c— Matthew DeFranks (@MDeFranks) July 4, 2021