Dallas Stars Expansion Draft Decision: Antoine Roussel or Cody Eakin

Feb 16, 2017; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Dallas Stars forward Cody Eakin (20) celebrates his goal with forward Antoine Roussel (21) during the third period at Xcel Energy Center. The Wild defeated the Stars 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 16, 2017; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Dallas Stars forward Cody Eakin (20) celebrates his goal with forward Antoine Roussel (21) during the third period at Xcel Energy Center. The Wild defeated the Stars 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports /
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Either the Frenchman or the Ginger Ninja could be going to the Vegas Golden Knights in the 2017 Expansion Draft. The Dallas Stars have the ability to protect at least one but unlikely both.

The Vegas Golden Knights get the unprotected list of players from all teams on June 17th. From this list they will pick one player from each team. The Dallas Stars, like all teams, can protect seven forwards, three defensemen, and one goalie.

According to Sports Day of the Dallas Morning News, the six of seven predicted forwards to be protected by the Dallas Stars are: Benn, Spezza, Seguin, Faksa, Ritchie, and Nichushkin (boo). That leaves room for one more.

In a few mock Expansion Drafts, experts are predicting that, whether it’s Antoine Roussel or Cody Eakin, the unprotected forward will be picked by Vegas instead of whoever Dallas’ unprotected defensemen is. Who should it be?

Comparing The Numbers

While Roussel,27, and Eakin,25, both started their careers in the NHL with the Dallas Stars in the middle of the 2012-2013 season the two couldn’t be more different during a game.

More from Analysis

Roussel has been so consistent in his stats that it’s easy to predict how he’ll do every season. He’s been averaging 13 goals, 14.5 assists, and 27.5 overall points for all his full seasons with the Stars. Surprisingly one of the few stats that does change for the Frenchman is penalty minutes which has gone down over the years. Yes, Down! Roussel is a safe bet if the Stars are in the market for consistency.

By their best year, Eakin is a better forward. With more goals and assists, it makes sense to keep him. Eakin has outshined Roussel ever year up until last year. The previous three full seasons before this last one he averaged 17 goals, 19.7 assists, and 36.7 points. The 2016-2017 season was a rough year for Eakin with only 3 goals, 9 assists, and 12 points. It seems he never fully got into the swing of things after his knee injury that took him out of the game for six weeks at the beginning of the season. This unfortunately begs the question, will he ever get back to where he was?

Another huge factor that has to be discussed is salary. Eakin earns 3.85 million annually while Roussel earns only 2 million. If the Stars make some trades before the 2017 Expansion Draft and get some higher paid players, it might make the decision easier to leave Eakin unprotected for salary cap issues.

Do the Stars want the consistent, high-intensity, and cheaper option with Roussel or the risky, high-potential, and expensive option with Eakin?

Next: Dallas Stars Shouldn't Protect Nichushkin In The Expansion Draft

Beyond The Stats

Antoine Roussel is the heart of the team. This intense ball of French energy will take on anyone who messes with him or his teammates no matter how much bigger they are. It’s exciting! He’s the enforcer that can hold his own in most fights. Plus anytime he gets the puck the fans yell out “Rou!” Roussel sells tickets which is kind of a big deal when hockey is the last in popularity of the four major sports in the D/FW area.

Cody Eakin will be missed if picked by the Golden Knights but it wouldn’t be as devastating as losing Roussel. After all the great players the Stars lost at the end of the 2016 playoffs and during this past season, the Stars fans could use a break from all the heartbreak.