Dallas Stars Daily Links: Starting the Season With the Finn Twins May Be Crazy Enough to Work, Says Heika

Heika talked goaltending with Stars fans on Twitter yesterday. Plus, Jamie Benn is head of the 2017 UFA class, and Jim Nill is up for GM of the Year.

Improving a professional sports team is always harder than those video games let on. The Dallas Stars have some moves to make, but one area they may leave alone is the net, writes Mike Heika.

The Dallas Morning News hockey reporter answered a number of questions on Twitter from Stars fans looking for insight on the team's possible roster moves, and he puts forth the idea that Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi turned in regular-season performances good enough to warrant their return in October:

Question: How big of a cap hit would it be to buyout our two goalies?
Heika: Lehtonen's buyout is $1.815 million for four years, and Antti Niemi's is $1.485 million for four years. Combined would be $3.3 million. That's not going to happen.

Question: So what are the chances the Stars roll out Lehtonen and Niemi again next year? I think this would be a nightmare scenario.
Heika: I actually think that could happen, and [the Stars] keep looking for a goalie during the season - maybe swing a deal at the trade deadline.

Question: Wouldn't that be the textbook definition of insanity?
Heika: Technically, they were great in the regular season. So, would it be insane to repeat that? Depends on other options.

There's more, conveniently collected at Heika's place. [SportsDayDFW]


Meanwhile, The Dallas Morning News has pulled out more from Heika's Monday chat. Here he discusses getting younger and bigger on defense and whether the Stars will listen to any trade proposal that involves Valeri Nichushkin. [SportsDayDFW]

Speaking of one of these things, the Stars have signed 2015 fourth-round D-man Chris Martenet to an entry-level contract. Jeff K was among the first to welcome him aboard via social media.

Jamie Benn tops a list of the most important free agents of 2017 that includes Joe Thornton, Ben Bishop, Kevin Shattenkirk and The Captain's own teammate, Patrick Sharp – all of whom can start negotiating as of July 1.

A federal judge has written a 47-page opinion denying the NHL's request to dismiss the class-action concussion lawsuit filed by former players. [Sports Illustrated]

Last night, in PLAYOFF HOCKEY:

Here's Carl Hagelin netting the first goal off a Kessel rebound:

...which Kessel followed up with an apple of his own just over five minutes into the third:

Are No. 1 defensemen the hardest-working players in the NHL? Alex Prewitt talked with Brent Burns, Victor Hedman, Kris Letang and Alex Pietrangelo and decided yes, they probably are. [SI]

And the next time someone you know side-eyes Alex Ovechkin for not having a Stanley Cup yet, show them Sean McIndoe's article on the legends who had to wait even longer – including Ray Bourque, Johnny Bucyk, Dominik Hasek, Teemu Selanne and Steve Yzerman. [The Hockey News]

ICYMI: The NHL has announced the finalists for the GM of the Year Award, and a certain famous 'stache is reppin' hard.

Josh Cooper weighs the candidates and offers a brief summary of Jim Nill's unconventional magic. [Puck Daddy]

And speaking of GM of the Year nominees, the Washington Capitals' Brian MacLellan should have plenty of money to address his own team's early-exit problems. Could he also be interested in getting a do-over with former Caps prospect Cody Eakin? [CSN Mid-Atlantic]

Is it possible to spend too much time staying in position on defense? Blogger and statistician Jennifer Lute Costella (a.k.a. @RegressedPDO) takes a look at how waiting to clear the zone rather than attacking the puck results in cycling, which results in fatigue, which results in the defensive mistakes you were trying to avoid in the first place. [The Vicious Cycle of Conservative Defensive Structure]

P.K. Subban is bringing his big personality (and his charitable side) to a comedy benefit for one of his favorite causes, the Montréal Children's Hospital Foundation.

Okay, if you saw the Stars' in-arena intro in the first two rounds of the playoffs, you too may want to call shenanigans.

Tom Hawthorn of The Globe and Mail writes a colorful and moving obituary for former Montreal Canadiens goalie Charlie Hodge, "the shortest player in the NHL," who spent much of his career in the shadow of the great Jacques Plante but won the Stanley Cup seven times – once as a scout – and the Vezina Trophy twice.

Finally: EC Red Bull Salzburg has won six Austrian championships since 2007, but their latest team celebration went pear-shaped pretty quickly. Those trophies aren't as sturdy as they look.