Dallas Stars Mailbag: Erik Cole's Future, Defenseman Trade Targets and Predicting 16-17 Roster

Our first mailbag is up!

It's the start of a new year and the start of a new feature we'll have here at Defending Big D, where we'll take time each week to answer questions via Twitter or email. You can always follow us on Twitter and ask questions there, or you can send along questions directly via email to brandon.worley13(at)gmail.com.

Today it's just Twitter questions, and there are some good ones. Let's see how it goes.

Not that I know of. The Stars are getting national recognition for the work of the game presentation crew, and if you have a chance to attend a game then you can understand why. They'll never be able to please everyone with music choices, but there's no doubting just how entertaining the games have become with the changes that have been made the last few years.

Not to get down on anyone that came before, but the AAC crew has come a long way since the days of 2010-2012 or so, when it was Jeff K and a playlist and that's about it. Jeff K did the best he could do, but he was only one man -- and it was clear that there was a lot missing. The Stars tried different people and directors, and the crew they have now is absolutely outstanding.

We should also shout out the Stars PR team for the work they do as well, as they are a part of what we see each night.

I've grouped these two questions as they're related directly to each other.

The Stars are going to have some very difficult decisions when it comes to roster here in a few months. Patrick Eaves is probably within a few weeks to a month of returning (although we haven't heard much on that front, and he'll need some conditioning/practice time before he returns to a game), and Valeri Nichushkin and even perhaps Patrick Nemeth could potentially be ready by the end of the season and in time for the playoffs.

In theory, Erik Cole and Shawn Horcoff would be players perfectly suited for a move at the deadline for a team looking for veterans heading into the playoffs, and could bring back a decent draft pick or even a prospect or two in return -- see the trades at the end of the 2013 season for a bit of reference. The problem is that, in theory, the Stars would be the type of team that would want a player like Cole or Horcoff for a playoff run.

Complicating this issue is that Cole has been absolutely instrumental in the Stars resurgence over the past month or so and is probably playing better than he has at any point in the past three years. You could look at it as Cole is just boosting his trade value, but also Cole making himself invaluable to a team like Dallas for what could be another run to the postseason.

In short, I think Horcoff is the most likely of the two to get traded at the deadline -- especially with what Ritchie has shown to be able to do from the fourth line -- and if Cole is not traded, he might even find himself with a contract extension in Dallas. It all depends on if he can sustain this level of play. Last season, he couldn't.

Brent Seabrook.

Dion Phaneuf is going to be the big name on the list now that Toronto is going crazy pants again, and he could be what Dallas needs/wants as well, but Seabrook really does fit almost exactly what the Stars are looking for in the balance they need at the blueline.

The trick with Seabrook is that any move to get him will likely have to wait until the summer, and not during the season or at the deadline.

The Stars finally, FINALLY have the cap space and the assets to make a big move for a defenseman like this, and it will be costly, but it's clear that this is what could be the "last piece" the Stars are really needing for this rebuild moving forward, at least from the outside.

I'm afraid the Scott Glennie's NHL future, at least in the Stars organization, is seriously in doubt. He's a decent AHL player who has adjusted to his role well there, but observers who watch him regularly state that there just isn't anything special about his game to warrant a callup or NHL consideration.

For Faksa, he's likely going to get a look as a depth/checking line center for the Stars next season, especially with players like Horcoff and Eaves and Peverley potentially coming off the books.

I think he's exactly what he always was in Edmonton, and it's taken him some time to adjust to what the Stars have wanted from him this season. I know there's a lot of consternation about the Stars "trying to change the spots" of a 12-year veteran, but there's a reason why Hemsky was so divisive of a player during his time as an Oiler, and the Stars are trying to find the best balance for his game moving forward.

The past few weeks, and especially since he has been given consistent top-six minutes, he's played his best hockey of the season and is really starting to create some offensive chances for that second line. What's encouraging is that his defensive play has been decent all season and he's coming around offensively, along with Spezza.

Hopefully, he continues this trend.

Honestly, no. But I wouldn't be surprised if it happened. If that makes sense. Jim Nill is a mystery, sometimes.

Oh...well...let's see. I'll do one better. This won't be remotely correct. They won't be this young, but predicting veteran FA signings are impossible.

*Edit -- I left off Roussel! See, this isn't easy. Perhaps replace the Draisaitl pipe dream with Roussel.

Benn - Seguin - Nichushkin
Draisaitl - Spezza - Ritchie
Shore - Dickinson - Hemsky
Eakin - Faksa - Elie

Nemeth - Seabrook
Goligoski - Klingberg
Jokipakka - Honka


....and I'll leave you with that one.