Category Archives: Dal. Stars

Predicting Protected Lists: Dallas Stars 

The Dallas Stars face a few crucial decisions when it comes to the expansion draft. One comes at forward and one comes at defense. 

The potential return of Valeri Nichushkin throws a wrench into Dallas’ plans. Jim Nill and company will not be complaining about the Russian power forward’s return, however now they have to protect him (or technically protect his rights) so that he does not become Vegas property. 

Up front, three players are guaranteed to be protected — Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn, and Jason Spezza. 

Furthermore, it can be expected that Brett Ritchie and Radek Faksa will both be protected. The two young forwards broke out in the previous two seasons for Dallas and will continue to have an impact in their lineup moving forward. 

If Nichushkin’s rights are protected as well, that leaves one spot remaining. It could go to either Cody Eakin or Antoine Roussel. 

I’m here to propose an interesting scenario: if the Stars think that they will keep their third overall pick, I believe they will protect Antoine Roussel. However, if they feel that they are going to trade the pick, keeping Cody Eakin could happen instead. 

The front of this entry draft is loaded with centers. Although Dallas will miss out on Patrick and Hischier, they still could take someone like Gabriel Vilardi or Casey Mittlestadt. 

To be fair, the Stars could also take Miro Heiskanen, a defenseman, at #3 if they keep it. 

The moral of the story is that there is still big decision to be made by Nill and the Stars. Eakin and Roussel are each valuable players in their own rights, it just depends on how Nill envisions his team moving forward. One of them will be exposed, regardless of if they Stars are picking at #3 or not. 

The choice on defense is not much easier for Dallas. Although they have a lackluster defensive core, the Stars still have a number of worthwhile and young assets that they would like to keep. 

Stephen Johns, John Klingberg, Jamie Oleksiak, and Esa Lindell are all justifiable protection picks. 

John Klingberg seems like an obvious choice to be one of the selections here. Although he was a healthy scratch on multiple occasions last season, he still possesses a ton of potential and the ability to become a top-flight offensive defensemen in the league. 

The choice between Johns, Oleksiak, and Lindell for the final two spots comes down to personal preference, yet again, from the Stars organization. 

It is difficult to predict, however if I had to I would put Johns and Lindell on the protection list. 

In net, Ben Bishop has a no-movement clause in his new contract. That will leave Niemi and Lehtonen exposed, not that Vegas would take them anyways. 
Dallas’ protection list could look like the following:

Forwards: Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, Jason Spezza, Brett Ritchie, Radek Faksa, Valeri Nichushkin, and Antoine Roussel OR Cody Eakin

Defense: John Klingberg, Esa Lindell, and Stephen Johns

Goalie: Ben Bishop

As seen here, the Stars still have a lot of variables to sort out before lists are submitted a week from tomorrow. Only time will tell how they are thinking. 

Next team: Detroit Red Wings

Kevin, @TheNHLFiles

Advertisements

The outcome of the NHL draft lottery complicates roster decisions for Hextall, Nill 

The NHL draft lottery has come and gone for yet another year. This time around, however, it was quite controversial and unexpected amongst many fans and league management alike. 

Colorado, Vancouver, and Arizona, who were the three worst teams in the league, all do not have top-three picks this year. Instead, New Jersey moved up from 5 to 1, Philadelphia moved up from 13 to 2, and Dallas moved up from 8 to 3. 

The NHL lottery system is designed to prevent tanking, and that is exactly what it did last night. Colorado, Arizona, and Vancouver were all trying to ice competitive teams at the start of the season, but it did not work out. It just so happened that these three teams became casualties of a system that was put in place after the Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel draft. 

As for who won the lottery, it will have a significant impact on certain players being on the market come draft day. The top prospects in the draft — Patrick, Hischier, and Mittlestadt — happen to all be centers. 

To be fair, New Jersey does not so much fit into this category as well as Philadelphia and Dallas do. The Devils need a bonafide center desperately as they lack star power down the middle. Whichever road they go of the three aforementioned prospects, they will be in good shape. Adding one of them to Taylor Hall (and potentially Ilya Kovalchuk) puts them in a solid place moving forward with their rebuild. 

As for Philadelphia and Dallas, things are not as simple. Both teams already had a logjam of centers heading into this offseason and the outcome of the draft lottery does not make it any easier. Albeit, Hextall and Nill likely aren’t complaining. 

For the Flyers, down the middle they previously had Giroux, Filppula, Couturier, with a combination of other players including Bellemare, Vecchione, Cousins, and Weal playing on the fourth line. Along with the group of previously mentioned fourth liners, Boyd Gordon and Scott Laughton can also play in that role. Travis Konecny is a natural center as well but saw a large majority of his time on the wing last season and will likely continue to see so moving forward. 

In the end, the Flyers have some choices to make over the summer if they want to bring one of Patrick, Hischier, or Middlestadt on to the team next season. 

The player that could be in limbo throughout this whole situation is Sean Couturier. The 24-year-old center was already in trade speculation following the Filppula acquisition at the trade deadline, but now things are even more complicated. Couturier posted 14 goals and 34 points in 66 games last season and is more regarded as a defensive center. 

A handful of teams would love to get their hands on Couturier. It would be a tough sell for the Flyers and Hextall, but they made be forced into a move due to the outcome of the draft lottery. Regardless, the price on Couturier would not be cheap. 

In fairness, however, the Flyers could keep one of Hischier/Patrick/Mittlestadt or Couturier on the fourth line and work things out from there. Or, they could return their second overall pick to Juniors/the USHL. The latter is a lot more unlikely but not out of the question. 

The Dallas Stars are in a similar situation. The original plan heading into next season, according to Stars reporter Mike Heika, was to have Seguin, Spezza, and Faksa play at center. Devin Shore or Mark McNeill could fill in at fourth line center. 

This plan leaves out Cody Eakin, who Heika speculated could be traded before the expansion draft. Much like Couturier, Eakin is a defensive oriented middle-six center that a lot of teams would have serious interest in. 

Moving forward after the expansion draft, a lot of questions need to be answered for the Stars. They did not want to drop Radek Faksa down the depth chart for Cody Eakin, but will they think the same way for a bonafide center prospect? Only time will tell, but it is certainly up in the air. 

This situation with Dallas may unfold differently than people expect. Due to their already quality center core, they could look to trade down in the draft. A team like Colorado, Las Vegas or Vancouver would definitely be interested in one of Patrick, Hischier, or Mittlestadt. 

The Stars could go the root of taking a defenseman too. Cale Makar and Miro Heiskanen are both slated to go in or near the top-five of the draft. 

Also set to go high are Gabriel Vilardi and Michael Rasmussen, both of whom play center. 

There will rightfully be a lot of speculation in the upcoming months on behalf of the teams selecting within the top-three in June. The stunning outcome of the draft lottery has changed the outlook of the league and will show its true effects very soon. 

Stay tuned for more draft coverage coming soon. 

-Kevin, @TheNHLFiles

Five Players Off to Disappointing Starts in 2016-2017

As every new season rolls around, there are bound to be players that come in hot and players that come in cold. Most of the time these come as surprises, especially for teams paying big money for players that start the season slow.

Read the rest of this entry

How major trades look today: the Spezza and Kesler deals 

Re-visiting major trades from recent years and how they turned out today. This is Part I of a series. 

The Spezza deal

Dallas receives: Jason Spezza, Ludwig Karlsson

Ottawa receives: Nick Paul, Alex Guptill, Alex Chiasson, 2015 2nd 

This was a relatively unimpressive haul for the Senators. Alex Chiasson was just recently traded to Calgary for Patrick Sieloff, a depth defenseman. Alex Guptill is no longer with the organization and is in Buffalo’s farm system. The 2015 second turned out to be Gabriel Gagne, who is putting up average numbers (28 points in 34 games) in the QMJHL. Nick Paul, a fourth round pick in 2013, has seen playing time in Ottawa but only has five points in 24 games. There’s room for improvement with Paul, however. 

As for Dallas, they got a consistent 60 point scorer and a veteran presence. Spezza helped lead Dallas to the best record in the Western Conference this past season. Ludwig Karlsson, an undrafted free agent, is no longer with the Stars organization. 

It essentially turned out as: 
Jason Spezza for Patrick Sieloff, Nick Paul, and Gabriel Gagne

Verdict: Stars win the trade

The Kesler deal 

Anaheim receives: Ryan Kesler, 2015 3rd 

Vancouver receives: Luca Sbisa, Nick Bonino, 2014 1st, 2014 3rd

As for this trade, the Ducks have found consistency in it, where the Canucks have found all but that. Ryan Kesler has slotted in nicely behind Ryan Getzlaf, and even earned himself a new six year deal in the summer of 2015. The contract has the potential to be bad in the future, but it locked up a good asset in the present for the Ducks. As for the 2015 third, the Ducks selected Devan Sideroff, who had 59 points in 63 WHL games last season and played in one AHL game for San Diego with no points. 

The Canucks, like Anaheim, locked up a player from the deal to a new contact. Luca Sbisa got a three year deal with Vancouver at the end of the 2014-2015 season, but has been relatively unimpressive since. Nick Bonino was flipped for Brandon Sutter in a deal that also sent a second round pick to Pittsburgh. Sutter missed most of the 2015-2016 campaign with injury while Bonino helped propel the Penguins to a Stanley Cup. Lastly, the two picks for Vancouver turned out to be Jared McCann and Derek Dorsett. McCann was recently traded in a deal that sent Erik Gudbranson to Vancouver. Dorsett was signed to a four year deal at the same time Sbisa signed his deal, and he now carried a gruesome 2.65m cap hit for three more years. 

It essentially turned out as:

Ryan Kesler and Devan Siederoff for Luca Sbisa, Erik Gudbranson, Derek Dorsett, and Brandon Sutter

Verdict: Ducks win the trade

-Kevin, @TheNHLFiles

Colorado’s Barrie generating tons of interest 

Recently, reports came out from Elliotte Friedman that Tyson Barrie is likely to be moved by the Colorado Avalanche this summer.  Read the rest of this entry

Alex Goligoski’s future in Dallas is uncertain 

Alex Goligoski is due for a new contract this offseason and his future in Dallas remains up in the air. The 30 year old defenseman has three goals and 20 points in 45 games this year and has helped guide Dallas to third in the league as of midway through January. Goligoski is a veteran of 525 NHL games and has seen time with the Penguins along with the Stars. 

The Stars also have Jason Demers to re-sign this offseason, but they are in a better position with him since he will likely command less than Goligoski. 

Moving forward, the Stars without Goligoski would have Oduya, Klingberg, Demers, Nemeth, Lindell, and Jokkipakka/Johns on defense. 

Alex Goligoski’s next contract will likely command term and major money, and the Stars need to estimate whether or not they are willing to pay him what he wants. He could fetch between four to six years at five to six million on the free agent market. 

The Stars also need to worry about Jamie Benn’s contract which ends after next season. 

At the current odds, Alex Goligoski’s return to Dallas next season is unlikely. He will be there for the end of the year since Dallas is in the hunt for the Cup this year. 

-Kevin, @TheNHLFiles

Five Bold Predictions for the 2015-2016 NHL Season

The NHL season starts tonight, and each year something happens that makes all of us scratch our heads. Whether it’s a trade, firing, or odd standings movement, the league will look different than it did last year, just as last year looked different than two years ago. Some of the items on this list are much bolder than others – but here are five predictions for the upcoming hockey season.  Read the rest of this entry

Seguin and Crosby are Early Hart Trophy Favorites 

The Hart Trophy is handed out annually to the league’s most valuable player, and each year the decision seemingly gets harder and harder. The names like Alex Ovechkin, John Tavares, Ryan Getzlaf, and Sidney Crosby have started to consistently find their way onto ballots, but this year, like last year with Carey Price, there could be some new names surfacing for nomination.  Read the rest of this entry

Trades Highlight Day Two of 2015 NHL Draft

Although nothing will out-do the hours leading up to the draft yesterday, day two was no bust on the trade front. The GMs worked tirelessly to improve their teams whilst trying to find gems in the later round of the draft. Day two saw the trade of Cam Talbot finally, but still no Patrick Sharp or Phil Kessel. 
Read the rest of this entry