Dallas Stars Daily Links: If Rich Peverley Returned to Dallas, Where Would He Fit?
After a year of virtually no news, word has finally come out that Peverley might be able to play hockey again at some point. Also, bye-bye Capitals, and hellooooo Lightning's offense
Really quickly here, how would you like to watch some hockey dentistry? This video is exactly what you think it is:
Okay, so let's talk about Rich Peverley. We have actual news about Pevs (I have heard people call him "Pevs," but I do not know if that is a "real" "nickname" at all, by the way) that we can be happy about. That in itself is something to be happy about, so go ahead and be happy about that, okay, now keep reading.
Really, this is fabulous news--and please go read Erin's fantastic and detailed piece about Peverley's condition if you somehow have not yet done so--just because Rich Peverley is a classy hockey fellow, and now he has hope. It's early, of course, and you can never have enough context when looking at a potentially amazing comeback like this one:
Considering that Peverley had to sit out this entire season, it looked less and less likely that he would ever be able to play again. Now it appears there is an open door if he can get the proper clearance from doctors.
Peverley's contract with the Stars is set to expire this summer, which would make him eligible to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
That this is even a possibility seems to be a minor miracle. To come back from an life-and-death situation in the last NHL game he played in is nothing short of remarkable if he does end up getting the green light.
Peverley will turn 33 on July 8. Considering that he missed an entire NHL season and the nature of his ailment, the market for his services could be small, but you'd have to think there's a team out there that would consider giving him a chance to prove he can still play.
Right, that's the thing. Peverley does have to play somewhere, and naturally we would be excited for that to be Dallas. I don't believe Peverley owes the Stars anything, by the way. He will be a free agent on July 1st, and yes, we would just love to see him make a triumphant return clad in victory green; but he did everything he could do while the Stars were paying him (and still are, I suppose). When July 1st arrives, he then has the right to find the place that is the best fit for him, assuming the doctors have signed off and the insurance thingies have all been codified.
That said, it's hard to see Peverley not at least giving Jim Nill a couple quick texts as things progress, right? Surely the Stars have been heavily involved in the process thus far, so while a return wouldn't have to take place with the Stars, it would be somewhat surprising to see either party feel jilted should Peverley manage to get a contract that allows him to play NHL hockey again elsewhere.
Caveats, schamveats, though. The Stars sorely missed Peverley late in 2013-14, and his two-way play probably would not have hurt the impressively porous Stars at all this past season. So, yes, a healthy #17--and healthy doesn't necessarily mean up-to-speed for a good long while yet, of course--would be an asset, and if he arrived in Stars' training camp next year, that would be a nice thing for Dallas.
Unfortunately, I'm having trouble figuring out just how the Stars can justify signing Peverley right now given their current roster. Here's a slapdash facsimile of what the Stars might ice next October assuming that Eaves and Horcoff do not return:
Benn - Seguin - Nichushkin
Sceviour - Spezza - Hemsky
Roussel - Eakin - Garbutt
Moen/McKenzie - Fiddler - Ritchie
Where do you plug Peverley in there? Well, injuries happen, so it's pretty likely that the Stars will need another C/RW at some point during the season, by which I mean the Stars will definitely need a C/RW at some point during the season. Also, trades seem likely to happen in order to procure defense, so it's not irrational to scratch off one of the above names to make room while you're dreaming and everything.
The thing that gives me the most concern about potentially signing Peverley again is this: the Stars couldn't really count on him to provide top six minutes until they see him in action, and there's no guarantee that they'll see anything resembling game capabilities by July 1st. Since they would have to make room for him prior to signing, it's tough to see Jim Nill sending known commodities out the door (yes, even Garbutt) in order to sign someone who hasn't played hockey for well over a year.
Would it be awesome if Peverley succeeded in coming back to hockey and did so with Dallas? Let me answer my question with a question: yes? I'm not sure yet, because it seems like that question (which answered[?] a question) raises almost more questions than it answers, and that's the pickle: the Stars need to find answers this offseason, not more questions. Should I just have deleted this paragraph, that is another question.
Building a hockey team needs to be a bit of a cutthroat process. If you can afford a roster spot and the upside is significant enough, a medically cleared Peverley would be a nice addition for Dallas around 20-30 games into the season when he's finally getting up to game speed again. The Stars as currently constructed don't seem to have the roster space (or salary cap room, unless Peverley would take a wee little deal) to add another forward. My naïveté says that the Stars will bring back Peverley and he will pick up right where he left off; my Norah Jones-cold, cold heart says that the Stars already have two top-six centers and two top-six RWs that need those minutes in order to grow (Val) and contribute in the way they can best help out (Hemsky).
Now, you can just boot Val down the lineup again, but after a lost season for the big Russian I highly doubt the Stars would be thrilled with playing Nichushkin alongside bottom six talent. Would they try to get him back on the left wing with Spezza and Hemsky? We know he's less comfortable on that side, so it certainly seems less than ideal, even if the mechanics of it seem to make at least a tiny bit of sense.
Adding Peverley would be nice if the Stars had room, but right now I just don't know if this story is going to end as tidily as we all would like. Maybe that just means we should stay focused on how great a comeback would be for Peverley. After all he's been through, I'll be rooting for the guy no matter where* he ends up.
*I mean, I really really hope it's not Anaheim, but I would probably do some epistemological gymnastics in order to still hope for him to succeed.
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Here in two thousand grifteen, lots of people are talking about heists and stings. Well, I tell you what: I watched the grift-themed Community episode on Yahoo! last night, and ain't nobody going to grift this guy except for the office admin at work who took my twenty dollars when I signed up for office bowling night.
Mike Heika also weighed in on Rich Peverley's possible return. [DMN]
Josh wrote about the Stars' need for a better checking line over at [WFAA]
Derek Stepan scored in overtime to lead the Rangers back to the Eastern Conference Finals last night. Ovechkin scored early for the Caps, but nobody else did. That was a problem. [NHL]
Brooks Orpik leveled Dan Boyle last night with a headshot, and there's no telling how long Boyle will be out. Hard to guess what the NHL might do in the circumstances, but a suspension for next season certainly isn't out of the question. [Puck Daddy]
Barry Trotz after the Caps' loss last night: "Defeat is not your undertaker. It should be your teacher." Hey, I like this guy. [Pro Hockey Talk]
Could Ovechkin actually threaten Gretzky's career goals mark by the time all is said and done? It is not ridiculous to think so. [Hockey Graphs]
The Lightning are finally getting up to speed, and it's going to be pretty scary for New York when they face them in the conference final. Be afraid of Tampa Bay. [Grantland]
Hitch is still technically not not coming back to St. Louis, but yeah, who knows? [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]
Elliotte Friedman is reporting that Todd McLellan is all but certain to take the helm in Edmonton. The Oilers are taking all the nice things this offseason. [Edmonton Journal]
Finally, how can you not watch a game seven overtime winner? By not clicking play, I guess, but whyever would you do that? Don't do that.