Over the last 30 plus years, the Dallas Stars have made a number of trade acquisitions here in Texas. Sergei Zubov, Brad Richards, Tyler Seguin and Evgenii Dadonov to name only a few of they. Today however, we’re going to be looking at a potential offer that Stars’ general manager Jim Nill rejected. Making it the biggest non transaction in Dallas history.
Change needed after 2018
During the summer of 2017, the Stars made big changes. They parted ways with head coach Lindy Ruff. They signed Ben Bishop, Alexander Radulov and new/old coach Ken Hitchcock. The result of that 2018 season; another missed playoff for the 8th time in 10 years.
Hitchcock stepped down, and longtime Stars’ goalie Kari Lehtonen retired from the NHL. It was a pivotal summer for the Stars with many big decisions to make, and deciding what should and shouldn’t change. Two of the biggest names in all of this are Miro Heiskanen, and Roope Hintz.
Building from the ground up
Bring on the summer of 2018, and Jim Nill had a big choice to make. Erik Karlsson was on the market, and the Stars already had 2017 first round pick Miro Heiskanen ready to make his NHL start. Acquiring Karlsson didn’t just mean giving up on Heiskanen before he ever played in the league. The Stars would’ve lost Roope Hintz too. Fresh off of a Calder Cup Finals appearance with the AHL’s Texas Stars, Hintz proved he was ready for the NHL.
During that off-season, Nill opted to stick with the young and upcoming talent from Dallas’ prospect pool. Going with the homegrown talent that Hintz, and Heiskanen had in store. While it was never a slight to Karlsson, the Stars stood pat with their young guys. Standing with the 49th overall steal in the 2015 NHL draft Hintz. As well as the team’s first overall pick two years later in Heiskanen.
Nill made the right decision
If Nill decided to gamble away the upcoming Stars for Karlsson, the results could’ve turned ugly for Dallas. Heiskanen, and Hintz are the present and future of Dallas. They have led the Stars to seven playoff series wins since 2019. They’re once again two of the team’s best in 2024.
As opposed to Karlsson, Heiskanen is a defenseman who is strong on defense. Whereas Karlsson has traditionally been a liability for goals against. To be fair, ankle surgery plagued Karlsson in defending the puck, and skating backwards.
Photo credit: sportingnews.com
Looking back, Nill had a chance to nab the bright shiny toy on the market. He however stuck to his guns with Heiskanen, and Hintz. The team reaped the benefits. Including the Stars’ GM winning the 2023 Jim Gregory award for general manager of the year.
Also, the Stars are better off with a 200 game defenseman. Even if Miro doesn’t get the national recognition he deserves. The Stars are more interested in playoff success, and winning than a subjective award.
Featured photo: nhl.com