It’s always the right time for a deep-dish Dallas Stars Q&A. And now that the dog days of hockey-free summer have hit like the proverbial 12-ton semi, they may actually be good for your general wellness.
In response, Stars senior staff writer Mike Heika has launched his latest #HeyHeika post – for your health! And he takes on some of the burning questions you yourself might be asking (or, indeed, that you wrote to him to ask).
For starters, Heika addressed the question of the Stars’ impending UFAs and whether the coming season will be their last chance to win it all with this lineup:
...If this team does well, they can look to possibly get [Joe] Pavelski or [Alexander] Radulov on shorter-term contracts and keep riding the wave. If they don’t, they can go in a younger direction. I can’t really answer who or how until we see how they perform. If they lose in the first round of the playoffs, that’s different than if they miss the playoffs entirely. If they really struggle, it makes sense to allow several veterans to leave and lean heavily on younger players. If they look good, then maybe they can return in 2022-23 with a hybrid lineup that transitions to the younger players but still has space for some veterans.
There’s a lot riding on this season, but I think the Stars are in a place where they can make decisions based on who is here and what the contract obligations are. The contract for [John] Klingberg is a tough one. Current NHL prices for defensemen are sky high, and you already have a commitment to [Miro] Heiskanen, Esa Lindell and [Ryan] Suter plus a talented youngster in Thomas Harley. That’ll be a tricky negotiation.
He also took advantage of an opportune question to roll his own lines:
Because the team is versatile and possibly injury-prone, there are so many iterations. Right off the bat, they have to determine if [Jamie] Benn or [Tyler] Seguin will play center or wing. Then, you’ve got to ponder how healthy and effective players like Radulov and [Roope] Hintz will be. Then, mix in the fact that both Pavelski and Radek Faksa can play center or wing, and you have a lot of options. If I’m drawing it up to start the season, I would guess:
Jason Robertson - Roope Hintz - Joe Pavelski
Joel Kiviranta - Tyler Seguin - Alexander Radulov
Radek Faksa - Jamie Benn - Denis Gurianov
Michael Raffl - Luke Glendening - Blake Comeau
There’s more at Mike’s place, including speculation on Jake Oettinger and Thomas Harley, the Stars’ next Winter Classic, and Jani Hakanpää’s place in the Finnish Mafia. [Dallas Stars]
Speaking of Klinger, and we were...this dude deserves a birthday week.
Around The Leagues
The Vancouver Canucks want to hang onto Jason Dickinson.
Jason Dickinson signed a three-year contract with the Canucks. It has an average annual value of $2.65 million.https://t.co/4H7xYXpF2Y— NHL.com (@NHLdotcom) August 15, 2021
The NHL wasn’t planning on doing jersey ads, until they were.
And while we’re on the subject of how no news travels at the speed of light, the wrestling over the 2022 Winter Olympics continues...but there is an end in sight.
"Some teams are acting like this is Armageddon."— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) August 10, 2021
How uncertainty over NHL Winter Olympic participation -- and if the 2021-22 season will flip to a "revised" schedule -- is causing ticket sales and travel concerns for teams. https://t.co/2Ugyz0WIc5
Scott Wheeler has taken a deep dive into the league’s future skaters for his latest ranking. Find out what he has to say about Thomas Harley.
My annual top 50 drafted NHL prospects ranking at @TheAthletic:— Scott Wheeler (@scottcwheeler) August 16, 2021
- 10,000+ words of evaluation
- Quotes from sources
- Player tiers
- Honourable mentions
The full 2021 list: https://t.co/PsCNS5dMXi pic.twitter.com/X79cZ9tffT
Before you ask, Jake Oettinger is an “established, young NHL [goalie]” and “one of [his] NHL club’s two primary options,” so he was not eligible for this list.
Speaking of young players, at least one Canadian junior league has filed a COVID-19 vaccination requirement.
Player's, staff must receive both doses before the season begins on Oct. 1https://t.co/0xK2koM2WX— Hockey Night in Canada (@hockeynight) August 17, 2021
Meanwhile, the NHL is going the sternly-worded-letter route.
By the way, Sean Shapiro is almost always not wrong, but he’s especially not wrong here.
One that is on the ceiling and not the floor of the locker room https://t.co/3OUdp1y4vd— Sean Shapiro (@seanshapiro) August 16, 2021
Greetings From Beautiful Boise
The Idaho Steelheads are getting work done in the offseason, too. Returning: netminder Jake Kupsky...
✍️ SIGNED: Like a good neighbor...— Idaho Steelheads (@Steelheads) August 16, 2021
Jake Kupsky is the first goaltender announced for the 2021-22 season, marking his second stint in Boise. Welcome back, Jake!
DETAILS: https://t.co/GSbTgeqGhi | #FeelTheSteel pic.twitter.com/VCOAi3aYSy
...and blueliner Evan Wardley. Keep an eye on Steelheads Twitter as they announce the whole team, one by one.
✍️ SIGNED: The Warden has arrived— Idaho Steelheads (@Steelheads) August 11, 2021
Evan Wardley returns for the 2021-22 season, marking the first defenseman named to the Steelheads for the upcoming year.
DETAILS: https://t.co/cHhcX7bhuu | #FeelTheSteel pic.twitter.com/LK3f5KgKXa
Captain America. Enjoy.