Last July, Dallas Stars general manager Jim Nill made his first major move on the job when he acquired Tyler Seguin, Rich Peverley and Ryan Button in exchange for Loui Eriksson, Rielly Smith, Matt Fraser and Joe Morrow. By all accounts the move was a home run for Dallas. Seguin finished fourth in the NHL in scoring and found great chemistry with Jamie Benn, with the duo leading Dallas back to the playoffs.
Meanwhile in Boston, Eriksson’s season was derailed by injuries, Smith emerged as an NHL goal scorer, and Fraser scored a key overtime playoff goal. The Bruins had Stanley Cup expectations and fell short in the second round. Unfortunately for B’s fans, last season was the year that they went all in on a Cup run, and now they find themselves over the salary cap. Between the highly paid, high caliber players and the younger guys ready to make an NHL impact, Boston needs to move someone, possibly multiple people.
Back in Dallas, there has been much discussion over what the Stars need to do with their defense. Could Boston and Dallas team up for another trade? Dallas has a need for a top pairing defender and more physicality from the defense corps and Boston has two players who could possibly fill some of those needs.
Could Johnny Boychuk be available for a trade? He is a sure fire top pair defender, has the physical game the Stars blue line needs, and is known for being able to deliver a big hit. AT 6-2 and 225 pounds, he would be the heaviest defender in Dallas, and one inch short from being the biggest all around defensemen. Boychuk could be available due to his impending UFA status after this season. The Bruins are aware that defensemen love to go to free agency and cash in on those big free agent paychecks (Brooks Orpik $32 million, seriously? Do you owners even remember the lockout?) and might opt to trade him and hope to get something in return rather than allow him to walk in free agency. Reports indicate that the Bruins would want a second or third line winger for Boychuk. Dallas has a need for that elisuve top pair defender, and stable of forwards that could be offered in return. Could a character utility man like Vern Fiddler and prospects be what Boston is looking for? Would the Stars be willing to part with the assets likely needed to get Boychuk without knowing if he would resign in Dallas?
Adam McQuaid could also be a possibility, although not as a top pairing defender. He is another tough, physical defenseman that could be what Dallas is looking for. He could be available simply to the depth that Boston has on the blue line. Zdeno Chara, Dennis Seidenberg and Torey Krug are locked in the Bruins long term plans, Boychuk is still there (for now), Dougie Hamilton has tons of promise and Kevan Miller proved a capable replacement that plays a similar style to McQuaid at a cheaper cost. The problem with McQuaid is that he has missed a lot of games, and while the Stars could use more size and physicality from the blue line, does he really provide an upgrade over whomever Dallas employs on their third defensive pair, or would he be Aaron Rome 2.0? If Stars management thinks McQuaid’s a fit, he could come relatively cheap.
The good news for Dallas is that Boston is very tight against the salary cap, meaning they might be open to taking on prospects and/or cheaper players, something Dallas has in spades. The two clubs have teamed up multiple times in the past (anyone else remember how Andy Moog got to the Stars?) and Jim Nill has proven that he is willing to give up quality to get quality in return. If either of those trades came to fruition they wouldn’t be as massive as the Seguin trade, but both Boychuk and McQuaid could fill roles the Stars need and there would be benefit for both sides.
As always, I welcome your comments. Thanks for reading and go Stars!