Good morning, Stars fans!
As I’ve gotten lost in the frenzy of studying the Stars recently released schedule, I almost forgot that the offseason is FAST approaching! With the draft being scheduled for this Friday in Philadelphia, the NHL offseason, which releases all free agents from their former teams and marks the day that all big trades get set to go down, is set to open a week from today on July 1st. And it will be a very important first week of July for the Dallas Stars, who are looking for one or two more key additions to their squad in order to turn them into a legit Cup contender. And for the last few weeks I’ve had an idea in the back of my mind.
Now, this idea has been swarming my head constantly and I wanted to share it with y’all and see what you think compared to how I feel.
The Stars will be looking for a 2nd line center as well as a big name defenseman, mainly. They need a center to help out the workhorse that is Tyler Seguin, who had to manage the bulk of the center duties this past year, which ended up taking away his full potential that he could have offered. They need someone to take the load off of Seguin and bear it for the year. The Stars also need a blue liner. This need is just as dire considering the Dallas Stars’ defense was eaten alive this past year with no leader or establishment. A big name is necessary to help out as a leader and a skilled defenseman that can bear the load and take the place of the Stars former employee of this spot, Stephane Robidas.
Now, I’ve thought about it, and here’s a suggestion from me: What are the chances of picking up Brad Richards as the second line center, Matt Niskanen as the big name defender, and Steve Ott as a fourth line center to fill in Fiddler’s spot?
Now, here’s an in-depth explanation from me:
THE STAR’S POSSIBLE OFFSEASON SHOTS:
Brad Richards back to the Stars:
Now, Brad Richards was released from the New York Rangers last Friday after the organization used one of it’s compliance buyouts on the 34 year old center. Richards is officially a free agent and can go to whatever team’s offer suits his fancy the most. Throughout his career, he has played large stints for 3 teams, one of them being our very own Dallas Stars. Richards has been a very successful hockey player wherever he has played and has constantly produced high quality numbers. So, is this the answer for the Star’s 2nd line center problems? Here’s a look at it:
Why he would work:
Brad Richards is a proven and experienced forward who knows Dallas well. He was a member of the Stars during their 2nd most recent postseason appearance back in 2008 and played tremendously. His capabilities in the dot are awesome and his experience is just the right amount that the Stars need. His frame makes him a key on the physical side, something the Stars severely lack in the dot with Fiddler declining a contract offer to return him to Big D. Richards could fill this void and with his presence on the second line, Seguin would feel a tremendous weight lifted off his shoulders and would be able to contribute much more (he can do more? woah). Plus, if the Stars shoot and miss on deals with Jason Spezza and Paul Stastny, Richards would be the perfect safety valve for the Stars to accumulate.
Why he wouldn’t work:
The Stars might not be looking for someone like Richards. Richards is still a valuable presence on the ice, but the 34 year old might not fit well on a team that’s average age is 28 and full of rookies just starting their career and kicking butt at doing it. Richards might not be the investment the Stars want, considering an MVP like Richards would be expecting a good-sized contract. The Stars are mainly interested in Spezza and Stastny and have been since early May, while Richards hasn’t been an option since 3 days ago. Considering that the Stars are an organization of high interest after this past season, the chances of landing Spezza or Stastny are pretty good, especially with the genius of Jim Nill manning the helm for all trades and signings. So, with the Stars having no time to study Richards and focusing mainly on the other two, they might not be ready to take a risk on an aging star who was released because of his insane contract.
Matt Niskanen back to the Stars:
Matt Niskanen is preparing for the free agency market as I am typing this. He has spent his past 4 seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins after being dealt there from the Dallas Stars in exchange for current D-man Alex Goligoski. The Penguins are preparing for the worst and are almost positive that Niskanen will be an ex-Penguin within the first week of July. The 27 year old is a fantastic manager of the blue line with a great 2-way game. So, could the Stars find a way to pick him up to help out the struggling defense before he is snagged by someone else? Here’s how I’m thinking:
Why he would work:
Niskanen would bring a physical and helpful game to Big D. He was with the Stars during the ’08 Cup run as well and played exceptional in his time with the Stars. After being dealt to the Penguins, he showed that he performed spectacular regardless of the jersey he was wearing. He knows how to play an offensive type of defense, but is also disciplined enough to know when to fall back and protect the net. The Stars could definitely use a defenseman that is this young and knows how to play this type of game. And with the free agency tag, they wouldn’t have to give up anything for him. With his help on defense, the Stars would be set on all three defensive pairs and be prepared for a true breakout year this coming season.
Why he wouldn’t work:
Niskanen would work for the most part. The only way he wouldn’t work would be in the contract details. If the Stars go heavy on the re-signings and the pick-ups, along with extensions, they might not have enough $ to please Niskanen and draw him in. If they pursue Tyler Myers, which is just a crazy idea I threw out but has received surprising positive reactions, then Niskanen will not be looked in to by Dallas and will be gone before they make a decision to focus on him. But Niskanen, being a free agent, is going to be receiving plenty of other offers and if the Stars don’t act at the perfect time, a reunion is history. But besides that, it looks like the Stars might be seeing Niskanen back come July.
Steve Ott back to the Stars:
Steve Ott is ready for the free agency to hopefully fix the broken wheel of his career. After being drafted by Dallas in the first round of the 2000 NHL Entry Draft, he started his pro career in 2002-2003. After playing 9 fun-filled years in Dallas, the Stars organization traded him away to the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for Derek Roy, who spent less than a year on the Stars before being dealt to the Canucks during the lockout year. Ott was tossed to St. Louis this past season in the Ryan Miller trade and is now a free agent. He hasn’t seemed to be his true hockey self since leaving the Dallas Stars back in 2012. So could he make a reappearance in Big D throughout the upcoming offseason? Here’s my thoughts:
Why he would work:
Steve Ott knows his glory days are right in front of him at the age of 31, but he just isn’t on the list of elite centers anymore. So, that’s why he would fit in perfectly on the Stars’ squad. If the Stars pick up Ott in the offseason, they would be picking up a quality center who is pretty good on the offense, but even better when it comes to physicality. Ott is known for his physicality and that will be the main reason teams hunt him in the offseason. He is an average player when it comes to scoring, but his passing and fore check are magnificent. Ott knows his way around Big D, and the fans truly love this type of home-grown player. Ott could fill in the 4th line center spot that Fiddler is abandoning and help back up the total center category on the Stars team.
Why he wouldn’t work:
Now, I don’t know how Ott is thinking regarding his career, but I’m thinking he isn’t ready to be a 4th line center just yet. Now some of you are asking yourselves, “Josh, why not have Ott play the second line?”. Ott is not ready for second line management. He is a more physical forward than offensive forward and the Stars need the latter to compliment the second line dot. Ott’s prior contracts leave him as a viable option for teams not looking to spend a lot this offseason. But Ott would fit the Stars 4th line very nicely, maybe even 3rd line if Eakin packs and leaves, but that’s probably not going to happen.
I don’t know what’s going through Jim Nill’s big head right now, but he’s got a plan, there’s no doubt about that. So, is a reunion in Jim Nill’s plans?
It is possible, but it is highly improbable that all three will return. Now, to be fair, all three of these players were keys in the Stars 2nd to last playoff run in 2008, but that was 6 years ago, so I don’t know what’s gonna happen.
If I had to guess what Nill would do for a situation like this, I would say at best the Stars pick up Niskanen and maybe Ott. I think the Stars are going to put all their chips in on Spezza or Stastny as the second line center, so Richards probably won’t be buying a one way ticket back to D-town. Niskanen is the best bet out of the 3 right now.
The Stars will be adding those 1 or 2 necessary pieces this coming offseason, and they could end up adding some of these guys, we just don’t know. This young and thriving team on the rise will be a very desirable landing spot for multiple big names this coming offseason. Cannot wait to see what Nill puts together next season.
Comments below please and GO STARS!