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Dallas Stars Daily Links: We Need To Talk About Defense

Dallas Stars fans just got a long, steamy late-season gawk at a potential playoffs series against the Colorado Avalanche. It didn’t feel great – and it may have taken some of the shine off the Stars’ dominant win over the reigning Stanley Cup champions barely a month ago.

In his latest article, The Athletic‘s Saad Yousuf pointed directly at the elephant in the room – which is to say, every defender not named Miro Heiskanen, and what the team actually can do to fix a glaring issue before it dooms their run:

Backup quarterback syndrome — the idea that the guy down the depth chart can’t be any worse — is a real thing but I’m not sure how much it applies here. A collection of the NHL guys — Suter, Jani Hakanpää, Lundkvist and Joel Hanley — are struggling as frequently and at times, as glaringly, as they are. The Stars knew they had a need at defenseman before the trade deadline. They didn’t make an acquisition because they felt the asking price was too rich and they had internal options.

There’s a good chance that they were right about the asking price but if they believed they had internal options to help this season — which general manager Jim Nill didn’t shut down when asked specifically about Harley — now would be the time to explore those options. Harley is the most enticing option but if the thought is to not disturb his long-term development, then something else has to be explored. With Scott Wedgewood nearing a return, which would mean no more need for Matt Murray, the Stars will have space to accommodate their needs. And there’s no question, they have a need.

The Stars’ reticence about calling up Harley seems to be a moot issue as of this morning – but that’s not the only bit of positive news, Yousuf writes. However ominous the loss in Denver may appear, there were signs that point toward recovery:

The Stars’ loss to the Avalanche wasn’t all doom and gloom. Circumstantially, they were playing from behind and it’s worth noting that they’re still awaiting the return of Mason Marchment, who played well in that 7-3 win over the Avalanche last month. Marchment alone isn’t a savior to the scoring woes but his addition does have a larger impact on the lineup and creates a more favorable atmosphere for Max Domi and Tyler Seguin. That should be a boost to the secondary scoring, which is struggling.

The other glimmer of hope for the Stars was Oettinger. Two of the five Avalanche goals were empty netters. The first goal was a beautiful feed from Rantanen to MacKinnon. The second goal came off of a bad neutral zone turnover by Jamie Benn and the third was a power play goal by MacKinnon. Oettinger was phenomenal in the third period, in particular, and single-handedly kept the Stars in the game.

There’s much more behind the paywall. [The Athletic DFW]

Stars Stuff

You go to the playoffs with the defense you have, not the defense you want. Stars senior staff writer Mike Heika offers some insight.


In other news: He’s back.


Around The Leagues

In On The #Kill Taker

  • The St. Louis Blues lost their shot at a playoffs berth in a 4-3 shootout to the Boston Bruins. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]
  • Meanwhile, the Winnipeg Jets inched closer to locking up a wildcard berth with a 6-1 rout of the New Jersey Devils. [Winnipeg Free Press]

Kris Letang is almost as surprised that he made it to 1,000 NHL games as you are. Josh Yohe take a look at how one the NHL’s true iron men keeps going.


Hockey brawls are increasingly a thing of the past, and most people are (quietly) glad about it. Yet HockeyFights.com is more popular than ever. Go figure.


Greetings From Scenic Cedar Park – And Beautiful Boise

The Texas Stars are playoffs-bound, too.


So are the Idaho Steelheads, and they’re really going in style.


Finally

Forget the April 1 posting date – friend o’ DBD Derek Neumeier means every word. Enjoy your day.