The Dallas Stars Are Good, So Why Shop Pending Free Agents?
There seems to be a belief out there that the Stars should shop some pending free agents because they have depth. Why?
Like all true red blooded Americans, you love Thanksgiving. If it isn't your favorite holiday it's at least in the top two. You love the turkey, the company, and yes, even the football. You wake up Thanksgiving morning and watch the parade. You may even indulge in the dog show.
You sit around and wait what seems like hours to eat the coming feast. You think about that turkey, all of the sweet potatoes, and burying your face in the pumpkin or pecan pie. How can you pick which one? I don't know that it's possible to pick one, but please pick only one.
The big moment gets here. All the waiting and anticipation is surely going to pay off in a glorious and spectacular fashion.
I feel like Clark Griswold cutting a dry turkey every time I hear anyone mention trading away anyone who even moderately looks like a solid contributor to the 2016 version of the Dallas Stars, the team leading the Western Conference as of this writing.
General manager Jim Nill has stuffed the coffers full of depth. The sheer number of players who could reasonably claim that they should be in the NHL right now who are trapped in the AHL is a bit staggering. Remi Elie, Jason Dickinson, Radek Faksa, Devin Shore, Curtis McKenzie, Esa Lindell, Stephen Johns, Julius Honka, and Patrik Nemeth is already a nutty list. You could argue for a few more, and that doesn't even include Brett Ritchie. They're stacked.
The unknown is always tantalizing. This group has upside. Several players from this group will unquestionably have better careers than guys who they could replace. What people all too often fail to realize, though, is that the unknown isn't always good.
We look to the unknown when teams are bad for good reason. If the team stinks as is, does it really matter if the new guy coming in continues to stink and the team keeps losing? Not really, no. You make an upside play on the unknown talented player to play for the future and hopefully see early gains while losing nothing in the present. This is how bad teams improve.
Good teams establish a core of reliable players and supplement them with strong depth. The depth players work their way into the system. They get familiar and know exactly what is expected of them. In the case of injury to a star player, they are there to step in. They won't produce at an elite level most likely, but they know the system so the growing pains will ideally be minimal.
Former Dallas Cowboys coach Bill Parcells was known for doing this. He was known for consistently churning the bottom of the roster looking for guys who might some day be bigger contributors.
Parcells said its difficult to find players who can learn the scheme and make a big impact in a short period of time.
Of course, that doesnt keep him from trying in most cases.
Youre always looking to try to do something. Sometimes you have to try to create depth because you know down the road youre going to have a problem at a certain position, if you have an injury, Parcells said. Sometimes, you try to create a little more depth for yourself.
The goal is to create depth in case a starter or top player gets hurt. The goal isn't to create depth for the purpose of moving a top player so the young player can play. You don't just knock the guys at the very top off because some at the bottom seem ready to play in the league. That creates instability for teams who need anything but instability.
Alex Goligoski and Jason Demers are nearing the ends of their contracts. Both have been very good for the Stars, and the Stars know exactly what to expect from both players. The team is at the top of the league. Some fan discussion lately has centered around the idea that the Stars should consider trading either of them because of their depth and so they don't lose them for nothing as unrestricted free agents.
We've waited years for this team to look this good, and now some are suggesting the Stars should make a risky move to pick up some magic beans who may or may not work out five years from now simply so they won't lose guys for free. The NHL doesn't have a point system awarding teams extra spots in the standings for maximizing roster capital.The only trophy they award that matters is the Stanley Cup, and that is won by icing the best roster possible.
The best roster they have contains both Demers and Goligoski until either player hits the market and tries to see if they can sign a massive contract. If they can then more power to them. The Stars have the depth to not be crippled, but there is no logic that makes it reasonable to consider trading either guy right now.
Enjoy the run they are on. Some of us got spoiled early in the tenure of the franchise by just how good they were. Some of the newer generations of fans seem to have gotten a bit jaded from watching how a bad team operates. Enjoy this and root for the Stars to maximize what they have right now. The questions about "what could be" don't matter right now because right now this is a very good team. It's always going to be safer to bank on a good thing when it's going.
Right now, it's really going.