by April Marble
With the trade deadline swift approaching (February 25), the NHL is buzzing with hypotheticals, rumors, actual trades, and predictions.
For the Dallas Stars, this could be a perfect opportunity to move beyond being a mediocre team because, let’s face it: that’s how they’ve been playing. This season has been a series of hot and cold streaks that make the Stars seem not great but not terrible either. Although the team itself has a lot of potential, that is nothing without results, which is what the team desperately needs at this point in the season.
With the right moves, the Stars have a lot of opportunities to gain what they’ve been lacking all season long. Therefore, here’s a Top 3 of players that could be strong additions to the Stars lineup.
1. Gustav Nyquist
It is a testament to the Stars offense this season that Red Wings’ Gustav Nyquist has more goals than anyone on the Stars roster. Another testament to the Stars offense is that they’ve been shut out five times this season – it should be fairly obvious that the Stars need strong offensive players, and Nyquist is probably the best they can do all things considered.
With 27 goals this season (a season high for the Swede), Nyquist could give the Stars a much needed offensive boost to either push them to a playoff spot or hold on to their wild card position. Additionally, Nyquist has connections to the team as Stars general manager Jim Nill worked in the Red Wings front office for 19 seasons and served 15 as assistant general manager, so this deal is likely the most realistic and attractive of the three.
2. Kevin Hayes
Potentially one of the most desirable members of the New York Rangers right now, Kevin Hayes is a two-way player who the Stars could greatly benefit from. He is not only on his way to a record-breaking season for himself with 14 goals and 42 points in 50 games, but he is excellent on the penalty kill and could add another level of depth to the lineup. He also comes at a much more affordable price than, say, Artemi Panarin, and could make an excellent addition to the Stars’ third line.
That being said, Hayes probably wouldn’t ignite the score sheet every game but could definitely add some sense of stability to it.
3. Brayden Schenn
St. Louis Blues’ Brayden Schenn had an extraordinary 2017-2018 season with 70 points. While this season hasn’t been as fruitful for the 26-year-old with only 11 goals and a total of 39 points, a scenery shake-up can do a lot to a player’s performance – let us not forget when Tyler Seguin reached a career high of 84 points in 80 games after being traded to the Dallas Stars from the Boston Bruins, and would become a four-time All-Star.
Let’s say that history repeats itself and Schenn gets a second wind if traded to Dallas. Now, let’s say he doesn’t get a second wind, but he’s still performing on par with some of the most productive Stars. In either case, adding Brayden Schenn wouldn’t hurt the Stars’ lineup in any capacity: he does will at center and on the wing, and could (at the very least) add more secondary scoring.
Artemi Panarin who?
One of the biggest names on the UFA race is not included in this list, but there’s some reasoning behind that choice.
Columbus’ Artemi Panarin is the Anthony Davis of the NHL right now. There isn’t a mutually beneficial trade that can be made for the Stars and Blue Jackets, and seems unlikely that Panarin would want to stay after a year as he has expressed his interest in going to a destination city, and who would the Blue Jackets want from us if not one of the top guys? Much like the Lakers would have to trade away half of the team for Anthony Davis, the Stars would have to trade half of the team for Panarin which wouldn’t be worth it. It’s better to make a team that sees a stream of continuous positive results rather than instant ones.
Stars Nation writer Abi Hamilton has her Top 3 as well. Let’s take a look:
1. Mats Zuccarello
New York Rangers’ Mats Zuccarello is in his 9th season in the NHL and he’s not slowing down yet. The 31 year-old winger has played in 46 games this season with 11 goals and 37 points. He’s a player that can produce but he’s also helpful on the defensive side of things, blocking shots and dishing out hits. His game doesn’t have a big physical aspect (he’s a smaller guy at 5’7’ and 180 lbs) but Zuccarello is a great player to have on the power play – he takes the point and three of his goals this season have been on the power play.
Zuccarello’s experience and skill set can be just what the Stars need to kick up the depth scoring.
2. Ryan Dzingel
Ryan Dzingel’s days in Ottawa are numbered. The 26 year-old forward has not played for Ottawa since February 18th, scratched from the lineup so he isn’t injured before he gets traded. This season, Dzingel has 22 goals and 44 points in 57 games.
He is a player that parks close to the net and gets most of his goals on rebounds. The Stars have prided themselves on this type of play in the past and it’s the kind of plays they score the most needed goals on. Acquiring Dzingel can create those scoring chances and bring up the teams goal totals. Not to mention, he’s a young player whose got speed, which would be beneficial to the Stars.
3. Jordan Eberle
New York Islanders’ Jordan Eberle is an elite player when used the right way. Eberle has amazing hockey IQ, seeing plays before they happen and making some of his own, he’s hungry for an open patch of ice to slide in a goal or pass for an assist. This season, Eberle, a 28-year-old forward, has 13 goals and 15 assists in 56 games. Although smaller in stature at 5’11” and 187 lbs, Eberle offers scoring depth and experience when situations get tough.
Look at the guy’s history: he’s been a part of the Oilers and Islanders who have hit rough patches, but when the going gets rough, Eberle steps up.
Please consider, Dallas Stars organization.
As previously mentioned, the Stars are a decent team that has largely relied on defense this season, which in many cases has proven to be successful. However, they need to find some solid offensive players that can help the Stars get on the board. They are no potential 2019 Stanley Cup champions as of right now but they’re definitely in the process of building a team that has all the right pieces to be one.
Overall, any trades being made at this point should be for projected long-term success rather than instant gratification, and these picks could kickstart that journey for the Stars.
Photo: Getty Images (via NBC Sports)