Dallas Stars Daily Links: Why Jim Nill Believes In Jamie Oleksiak

Big Rig 4.0 is a “more mature, well-rounded” player, he tells Mark Stepneski. Plus, second-half storylines, Stars shining as AHL All-Stars, and more.

The Dallas Stars just can’t quit Jamie Oleksiak. With Marc Methot officially out for the season, GM Jim Nill pulled the trigger on a tradeback of a fourth-round pick to bring the Big Rig back from the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The 6-7 first-rounder has seen glory (the 2014 Calder Cup) and struggle (fighting for NHL ice time) with the Stars organization. Nill believes his time in the Metropolitan Division has refined his skills, writes Mark Stepneski:

“We’ve been watching him closely, and he’s a more mature, well-rounded player,” Nill said. “He’s more calm in situations, his defensive reads, not as many highs and as many lows. There’s real consistency.”...

“He went to another team -- sometimes that has to happen -- and he’s become a better player,” Nill said. “Pittsburgh is a very good team, and that rubs off on you. But he’s become a better player, and you have to give him credit.”

The 2019 NHL trade deadline is nearly a month away. But the Stars’ front office looked at their situation without Methot and Stephen Johns (still on IR due to post-traumatic headaches) and went for the comfort of familiarity – which somehow includes carrying eight blueliners again:

“I don’t know where the trade market is going to go,” Nill said. “All of a sudden one or two guys sign with their teams or one or two guys get traded, and I don’t know what else is going to be out there. This was a chance for us to get ahead of the curve a little. Pittsburgh was in a situation where they had nine defensemen. Something was going to happen for them and it just kind of worked in our favor.”

Mark has more – including this Twitter poll on the tradeback. [Stars Inside Edge]

Stars Stuff

As the Victory Green gang returned to a “hard” Monday practice, they looked ahead to the the season’s final stretch.

The Stars’ playoff chances – and Jason Spezza’s expiring contract – are among the potential headlines as the trade deadline approaches.

Around The League(s)

#Death is still on holiday, mostly, but the Winnipeg Jets saw some post-All-Star action – failing to launch in a 3-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers. [Broad Street Hockey]

The Finnish Mafia has arrived. Miro Heiskanen is part of a new generation of Suomi All-Stars that could shake up the league for years to come, writes Pete Jensen.

The Toronto Maple Leafs are getting in on some early trade action, too – acquiring shutdown D-man Jake Muzzin from the Los Angeles Kings.

Artemi Panarin is done talking about an extension with the Columbus Blue Jackets – at least until the Stanley Cup playoffs are over.

Here it is, straight from the source:

Matt Larkin spins out the second-half storylines, featuring Matt Duchene, Sergei Bobrovsky, and more.

Jack Hughes is still consensus No. 1 overall in the latest 2019 NHL Draft mocks. Get to know him a little better.

Greetings From Scenic Cedar Park

Denis Gurianov and Joel L’Esperance did the Texas Stars proud in the 2019 AHL All-Star Classic.

This became a theme for the evening, as a cursory look at Tom Dorsa’s Twitter feed will demonstrate:


I’ll just leave this here. Enjoy.