Apr 27, 2014; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Stars center Cody Eakin (20) skates against the Anaheim Ducks during the game during the second period in game six of the first round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at American Airlines Center. Eakin scores a goal in the first. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Cody Eakin: Dallas Stars Season Ending Report Cards

Good morning all! New day is here, one day closer to Stars hockey returning!

Here’s the next report card on #20, The Ginger Ninja, Cody Eakin:

Cody Eakin came to Dallas in time for the lockout season from the Caps in exchange for Mike Ribeiro.Through 2 years, the 2nd line center has proved himself useful to the organization.

Season recap:

Cody Eakin spent his first FULL season (honestly, are there any players who HAVE played here more than a full season?) impressing the Stars’ back bench and organization after impressing a different coach during the 2012-13 lockout season in which he skated in 48 of 48 games (wow, that’s impressive) and sniped home 7 goals while tallying 17 helpers. Pretty good numbers for a then 22 year old Eakin. Well, he found a way to impress again this season. He mainly skated with Antoine Roussel and Ryan Garbutt, and the Stars found this to be a diamond-in-the-ruff (pause for laugh at my sad pun) type of line. Eakin contributed with 16 goals and 19 assists during 81 of 82 games where he pulled a healthy scratch against Calgary in March (this guy must eat nails for breakfast).

The Three Musketeers (will this catch? probably not but that’s okay) found a way to significantly contribute every night whether it was on the offensive side or the physicality side. None of these guys refused to get dirty, especially Roussel, but that’s for a different story. He made sure he gave it all when on the freeze.

Playoff recap:

Eakin skated in all 6 games of the Stars postseason (would you expect anything else from him?) and succeeded in his first playoff appearance (another Stars’ playoff appearance? sheesh). He netted 2 of the Stars 18 total postseason goals and snagged 3 assists in an 18:32 average time on ice.

This included the GWG against Anaheim (also his first goal of his playoff career. I can only imagine how that felt) in Game 4 after the Stars came back from the 2-0 deficit in the first and a goal and assist in the madness of Game 6. He has overall been a valuable asset from January 20, 2012 to April 27th, 2014. Whenever he’s needed and whatever category he’s needed in, he’s always there to fill the void.

Contract situation:

Here’s his downfall. Cody Eakin’s contract expires at the end of the 2013-14 season (that’s once NY and LA can make up their minds on who wins, folks). He made $550,000 in each of his two years in Big D with a cap hit of $572,778. But Eakin, being 23, is still not eligible to be a UFA and will therefore be an RFA.

If you don’t remember my explanation of this on Dustin Jeffrey’s report card, it basically means he is still kind of a part of the Stars organization. Eakin cannot talk with other teams freely until July 1st. The Stars have until this date to send him a contract and give him the chance to accept or deny it. If another team sends him this wacky thing called an offer sheet, he shows the Stars and they have 5 days to either match the offer made by the opposing team which would guarantee him locked down with the Stars for another year or they can deny the match and he can pack his bags and head off to the great beyond.

But the Stars are smarter than that. Expect a raise and 3 year minimum deal.

In my opinion:

With the hard nose and gritty young player that Cody Eakin has proved himself to be, I for one consider him to be a steal for Ribeiro. He is a blossoming player that will thrive in the coming years.

And the Stars need to get in on that action.

With his seemingly injury proneness, he can be heavily relied on in tough and physical games. He holds an edge with his won’t-back-down motives and offensive firepower and loves to drop anyone who gives him trouble. His face off numbers aren’t too shabby, either. His penalty minutes look beautiful among the others on his line so his self control is already there. The Stars could really use his rough and rugged style of play in the dot and on the ice and should try their best to keep him along for the ride. At the fledgling age of 23, he will be a promising presence down the road for many years to come. Jim, I ain’t you (though every bone in my body wants to be), but please side with me on this one and re-sign this guy. You won’t regret it.

The bottom line on Cody Eakin:

Cody Eakin was a no-name 4th liner from Washington with a reputation no one knew about and a head full of way too much orange hair. But the Stars took a chance and gave him his first break. And he did not disappoint in the slightest.

Eakin could be re-signed, let go to an offer-sheeting team or to the FA, or traded:

The Stars could re-sign him. He made a valiant effort in his 2 previous seasons and meshes tremendously with Ryan Garbutt and Antoine Roussel. These three could bring the house down in Dallas in the years ahead. He has tremendous hands and knows how to get the job done. His skating ability is fantastic and he can find open holes in the opposing defense rather easily. Plus, the city loves to come by each night to see a ginger kick some butt. His skills are very useful from a team that needs all the help they can get in the dot. This is the most reasonable choice for the organization.

They could wait for another team to try and make a move. With the RFA status, they can basically wait until July 1st to see if anyone else decides to make an offer to him. If the Stars are not ready to offer him an exact amount of dough yet (which they entirely are), they can stake out and wait for another team  to toss the puck into their rink. But this won’t be happening.

They could also look to trade him. Jim Nill has deeply expressed his interest in a 2nd line center to back up Seguin’s load and plans on finding his match this offseason. He as well as many Stars fans feel that Eakin is almost to that caliber, but he is still 1 or 2 more years in the making. If the Stars were looking for a big name center, they could potentially go for, as mentioned multiple times earlier, Jason Spezza or Paul Stastny. These are both big name centers who could greatly help the Stars next season.

But does that mean the Stars have to trade Eakin for a relevant center?

Not at all. The Stars have a heavy arsenal of players who could take their talents somewhere else for a helpful dot-minder (check out my article on who could potentially see the boot this offseason here). Eakin could still find himself managing the third line and go from there. But if a team were looking for a center/center deal, Eakin could be the guy that gets sent off. Most likely not, but still a possibility.

The Stars showed off their young talent to the NHL this past season, and Cody Eakin had a main role in the show. He and his band of misfits could give fits to teams down the road, but Eakin’s future in Dallas needs to be secured first. With his blossoming talent, he is among the top younglings in the league and the Stars are lucky to have him. Now they need to continue to follow the rainbow with this leprechaun (pun intended) helping lead the way to the shiny Cup at the end.

Comments below please. Have a great Tuesday and GO STARS.

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