With the NHL trade deadline just around the corner, many are expecting the Dallas Stars to sell hard. But here’s why they might be smart to hang on to one of their potential trade pieces.
March 1, 2017. That could be considered the day that anarchy takes over in the NHL. It’s the day of the annual trade deadline, and this one is shaping up to be unlike any other in the past.
With an expansion draft looming in the offseason ahead, every team in the NHL is adjusting to the guidelines. That being said, there are plenty of teams trying to dish out players in exchange for something before potentially losing them to Las Vegas.
So there’s a lot riding on this deadline for a lot of teams. And it’s not just for teams in the cellar. Teams sitting at the top will need to make some decisions as well. Do they trade now and play it safe? Do they hold onto their players until that small insert between the end of the Stanley Cup Finals and the start of the draft?
These are the questions that need to be asked over the next week. There are starting-caliber goaltenders, top-six forwards, and even top-two defensemen at stake.
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For the Dallas Stars, they could use a little bit of all of those categories.
As the 28th best team in the NHL, the Stars are in quite a compromised situation. They only have 22 more games in the season and sit six points out of the final playoff spot in the West. They have a 3.13 percent chance of qualifying.
Their playoff chances are on the slim side and reality is slowly beginning to settle in. Unless the Stars find a way to stir a massive turnaround, they will be facing an early offseason to mull over their disappointments.
But first comes the trade deadline, where the Stars are expected to sell. Among the names of potential candidates are Patrick Sharp, Johnny Oduya, and Jiri Hudler. There is also a name that may seem to be a bit of a wild card, and that is Patrick Eaves.
Considering the excellent season Eaves is having and his extremely low cap hit, many are expecting him to go at a high price considering the rarity of his status. While it could be smart to send Eaves off for a valuable return, trading him away could prove to be costly for the Stars.
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That’s because of how much the 32-year-old has meant to Dallas this season.
Ever since singing a one-year deal with the Stars on the same day that Dallas secured Jason
Spezza in a trade back on July 1, 2014, Eaves has proven to be a valuable asset to the team. He initially signed a one-year deal worth $650,000 and has been receiving one year contracts ever since.
Part of that has been due to injuries. Eaves only played 47 games in his first season in Dallas and 54 in his second and lost a good amount of playing time due to multiple injuries that all occurred from being hit by the puck while in front of the net.
Now he is on his third one-year contract with the Stars and is set to make $1 million this year. His play has already heavily exceeded that price.
The 2016-17 season has been one for the books for Eaves. He’s played in 59 of the Dallas Stars’ 60 games this season, meaning his reliability has gone up and his proneness to injury has gone down. He has also scored 21 goals (career high) and tallied 16 assists (second highest) for 37 total points (career high). This is with 22 games remaining in the season, just in case you had forgotten.
Eaves has also contributed greatly on the power play side of things. He leads the Stars with 11 goals on the man advantage and has five power play assists as well.
He’s scored two hat tricks in his career, one when playing against the Stars and the other when playing for the Stars.
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Eaves is a hard worker who always gives his best to the team. He’s a dedicated worker bee on the ice, always doing whatever it takes to get the most out of each shift. Whether you need a net front presence, a set-up man, or a finisher, he can fill any role. Not to mention that he is a fan favorite. After all, those Dearest Annabelle tweets never get old.
But all of these qualities mixed together are what is making Eaves so valuable out on the market. Any team would be lucky to have a multidimensional player like Eaves to add to their roster before the postseason.
It’s unfortunate that the Dallas Stars are in a situation where they may have to sell him simply to get a good deal out of it. But holding on to him might not be the worst idea either.
If the offer isn’t there, it’s not Jim Nill’s job to force anything. Carrying Eaves into the offseason and then re-signing him (so long as he isn’t picked in the expansion draft) could work wonders for Dallas down the road.
But there are a lot of hurdles being created considering the Stars’ current standing and the immediate future ahead. All we can do is sit and wait to see what happens.