The NHL Trade Deadline came and went in Dallas, and things were a little too interesting surrounding the Dallas Stars for a team that did not make a move. Despite constant rumors and speculation over the last couple of weeks, nothing happened. Steve Ott didn’t get traded to the Vancouver Canucks, and Mike Ribeiro didn’t get moved to Chicago. Sheldon Souray will finish out the season in black and gold, and Adam Burish didn’t go to the Chicago Blackhawks either. After a lot of build up recently, the franchise fielded calls and likely had a busy day thinking over propositions, but in the end the Stars decided to go forward with the team they entered the day with.
General Manager Joe Nieuwendyk said for weeks that the team would weight all the options, but they wouldn’t just be buyers or sellers in the classic sense. In the end they definitely weren’t either. They were silent. For some that was the right thing to do, but ask others and the Stars should have pulled the trigger on something. For better or worse, the roster that got them into the 8th spot this last week will be the same one that they will roll with for the final 19 games of the season. The one move they did make, moving Nicklas Grossman for a 2nd round pick this summer and a 3rd rounder in 2013, was made eleven days ago. And interestingly enough the team has played better since the move, going 5-1-1 with Mark Fistric filling the open spot.
So now how do the Stars stack up against the rest of the teams they are jostling for position with? Some made moves, some didn’t. But now we know where everyone stands and most of the teams decided to stay quiet at the deadline.
Currently the Stars are only five points behind the division leading Phoenix Coyotes. But the Coyotes do have a slight lead in the season-series so far (the Stars are 2-2-1 against Phoenix with one matchup left). While the Coyotes were one of my picks not to make the playoffs, they again are playing excellent hockey and they are 9-0-1 in their last ten games. They added Antoine Vermette from Columbus last week, and in doing so definitely improved their team. Vermette is a solid 2nd-line addition and he adds some firepower to a team that most would say doesn’t have a lot. After that, the San Jose Sharks are the next team in the Pacific. While they sit three points ahead of the Stars at 6th in the West, they have been sliding since the break and now everyone could win the Pacific division. But Monday they did make one of the bigger deals as they sent young power-forward Jamie McGinn, two low prospects, and a 2013 7th rounder to the Colorado Avalanche for forwards T.J. Galiardi and Daniel Winnik. In the end the Sharks added some good forward depth and a little bit more offense into their lower lines, trying to right the ship with their recent woes. So while the Stars are still within reach of the division lead, both teams improved and I still think the Sharks are the team to beat still.
After that the Stars have to look at the crowd they are now sitting right in the middle of in the standings. The Stars are three points away from 6th, but only sit three points ahead of the Calgary Flames in 11th. The Blackhawks made a small move in trading John Scott away and bringing in Johnny Oduya, but they are still without Jonathan Toews and their goaltending issues are still there. The Avs made their one move with San Jose, but in doing so actually got younger. The Los Angeles Kings were the one team in the pack to make a huge move, but in adding Jeff Carter last week they added another scorer to a team that already had a ton of weapons, but they gave up Jack Johnson. In the end, most of the team didn’t really improve or if they did, it was not a strong improvement.
While the Stars didn’t do anything big either way, they might have just done the right thing. Gauge other team’s interest in their players, realize the market prices were extremely high, and in the end Joe and the staff stayed on the path like he said they would. Now they have 19 games to fight for one of those last spots and see if they can make something happen. Two weeks ago things looked horrible. Some solid play and a strong four-game winning streak, and they are right into a nice position this week. At this point anything can happen, but the Stars still have a good chance and they didn’t mess that up on Monday.
Topics: Calgary Flames, Chicago Blackhawks, Colorado, Dallas Stars, Daniel Winnik, Jack Johnson, Jamie McGinn, Jeff Carter, Joe Nieuwendyk, Johnny Oduya, Los Angeles Kings, Mike Ribeiro, NHL Trade Deadline, San Jose Sharks, Sheldon Souray, Steve Ott, T.J. Galiardi, Vancouver Canucks