Dallas Stars Daily Links: Making an Offseason Game Plan
What moves do the Stars need to make to become a Cup contender? Maybe not as many as you think. Plus, a look at what happens when first-round draft picks don't live up to their hype.
Over at TSN, Scott Cullen has been looking at offseason game plans for the teams not currently battling away in the Conference Finals, and he put the Dallas Stars in the hot seat. He outlines what he thinks the team should do this summer, which includes taking a look at the backup goaltending situation (surprise, surprise) and potentially finding a forward to slot into the top-six as a replacement for Erik Cole.
But other than needing to make those few moves, it turns out that the prognosis is pretty good.
It's easy to be in the position of a team that thinks it can get to the playoffs, but the Stars have the wherewithal to compete. They were in the top dozen in possession and power play efficiency, but were undone defensively. A team that has top-tier forwards in their prime, solid vets and promising prospects, the Stars don't need dramatic improvement to be a playoff team, yet they do have the cap room to get better this summer.
What they need is to keep playing at a similar level and have it backed by goaltending that is average or, ideally, better. This might seem to be unduly optimistic for a team that missed the playoffs by five points, but their usually above-average goaltender was nearly 21 goals worse than average last season. Fix that, and the Stars really ought to be a playoff team.
Do you hear that, guys? We have wherewithal.
Cullen goes on to name players who he thinks the team should be eyeing, and his list includes everyone from Winnipeg's Michael Frolik to Anaheim's overtime hero Matt Beleskey. Between the pipes, he has the Stars potentially interested in guys like Karri Ramo and Thomas Greiss if Jhonas Enroth makes his departure from Dallas.
As frustrating as last year got at times, the article is a nice reminder that the team is (hopefully) just a few changes away from playing post-April hockey again.
Er... hey, everyone. Don't mind me, just doing links for the first time. Please don't stare at the new girl.
Anyway, on to more important things. Even if you started the night watching Texas Rising, hopefully you made it back in time for the end of the Ducks/Blackhawks showdown. Two goals from Jonathan Toews in the final two minutes sent the game to OT, but it didn't turn into the marathon that's been a trademark of the series. Instead, Matt Beleskey netted the game-winner 45 seconds into extra time, giving Anaheim a 5-4 win and a 3-2 series lead. [NHL]
Apparently, Gordon Bombay's well wishes worked.
GO GET 'EM TONIGHT DUCKS!!! @AnaheimDucks#GordonBombay— Emilio Estevez (@EMILIOTHEWAY) May 26, 2015
So is the Ducks/Blackhawks series on its way to becoming a classic? I feel a little nauseous putting Ducks and classic in the same sentence, but Scott Burnside makes his case for why the Western Conference Final is can't-miss hockey. After last night's crazy finish, it's hard to argue with the guy. [ESPN]
Sean McIndoe has 10 thoughts about the Conference Finals that you can pull from to sound insightful when talking to your friends. [Grantland]
The Lightning head into tonight's Game 6 with a 3-2 lead, thanks in part to their new-found love of blocking shots. If Torts were still coaching the Rangers, he would not be pleased. [Puck Daddy]
There's obviously been a ton of hype surrounding this year's draft—and for good reason. But for every top-round talent who goes on to raise the Cup and become a perennial All-Star, there's one who, well, doesn't. Meet Angelo Esposito. [Toronto Star]
Speaking of the draft, Ed Sarno over at The Hockey Writers walks you through the Stars' best late-round picks. Kinda hard to name a No. 1 that isn't Mr. Art Ross. [THW]
For all the #fancystats fans out there, you can read about what's up next for the invaluable War On Ice. [Today's Slapshot]
Here's a story to warm your cold heart as you return to the daily grind after having Memorial Day off. Mathias Tjarnqvist, who was drafted by the Stars back in 1999 and enjoyed a successful career in Sweden, is taking a teenage girl with Down syndrome to her high school prom. [Mirror]
And if you'd like more Tuesday morning inspiration, you should read about Tom Smith, who's been raising money for paralysis research after two separate hockey accidents both left him paralyzed. [Boston Globe]
#Babwatch may be over, but there are still a few other question marks surrounding behind-the-bench situations for teams like Buffalo and San Jose. ProHockeyTalk has the latest updates, and it sounds like Disco Dan is making the rounds. [Pro Hockey Talk]
And finally, I hope everyone saw this and immediately picked out the player they're planning to sport as a style statement during the Stars' next playoff run. Dibs on Klingberg. [Puck Daddy]
The @ThatJoeBarber #NYR @HLundqvist30 portrait is complete! pic.twitter.com/imguokvJYQ— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) May 24, 2015