Dallas Stars Overstocking On Defense Must Be Fixed Soon

DETROIT, MI - NOVEMBER 29: Jamie Oleksiak
DETROIT, MI - NOVEMBER 29: Jamie Oleksiak /

The Dallas Stars have nine NHL-ready defensemen on their blue line that need playing time next year. That being said, they will need to move some defenders in the very near future.

Too much of a good thing can be bad. When you overstock on something, you can find yourself struggling to balance it all.

The Dallas Stars now find themselves with too much of a good thing and it happens to be in arguably their least successful area: defense.

With the addition of Marc Methot on Monday night, the Stars received a defensive defenseman that will help bolster the defensive lineup out and give the blue line impressive balance.

But it also gave Dallas an overstocking on defense. Counting their newest addition, the Dallas Stars now have nine defenders on their roster that can be called “NHL-ready.” By that, it means that there are nine defensemen who have played substantial time in the NHL and are no longer AHL material.

Dallas Stars
Dallas Stars /

Dallas Stars

These nine include Marc Methot, John Klingberg, Esa Lindell, Stephen Johns, Dan Hamhuis, Julius Honka, Greg Pateryn, Patrik Nemeth, and Jamie Oleksiak. All nine are currently either under contract for next season or received a qualifying offer from the Stars on Monday afternoon when they handed them out.

Come opening night, the Stars cannot have nine defenders on their roster. Having nine defensemen on a roster is never a good idea because it means that three players are constantly missing out on the opportunity to get better.

So if they can’t carry nine defenders on their NHL roster and none of the players are destined for an AHL send-down, what must happen? Well, there’s only one thing that can happen: a trade.

With all of them being under the Stars’ control, it’s up to the Dallas front office to make some breathing room. But which defenders will be sent away? That’s the underlying question, and it seems to carry a simple answer.

It’s projected that the Dallas Stars defensive lineup will include Methot, Klingberg, Lindell, Johns, Hamhuis, and Honka. That leaves three particularly young defenders in Pateryn, Nemeth, and Oleksiak. All three have played less than 120 NHL games in their career, meaning that they still have potential that has yet to be reached.

The Stars could greatly benefit from a seven-man system on defense, carrying one extra defender as a healthy scratch to serve as a safety net in case of injury or inconsistent performance. Last year, they tried juggling eight defenders for a majority of the year and it turned out to be flawed plan.

Seven is a good number to settle on, so the Stars may end up needing to deal two away before it is all said and done.

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Pateryn proved over the final month of the year that he can provide the Stars with strong depth. He’s a defensive defenseman that can get physical and gives the Stars another option on the right side. But is this showing enough for Dallas to think about keeping him around and using him as a seventh d-man?

On the other hand, Nemeth and Oleksiak have each spent the last 4-5 seasons with Dallas but have been unable to secure a starting position. They have constantly been passed up by younger players and have continued playing the “seventh man” role. Maybe it’s time for a fresh start for both sides?

Whichever way the Stars go, they need to do something quick. The market will be at its highest value over the next few weeks, so now would be the time for them to unload.

Many teams will be looking for young defensemen that can provide depth, and all three of the names above fit those guidelines. If a team goes all in on a free agent defender but end up falling short in the race, they could look to Dallas for a plan B.

The Stars might be able to snag a draft pick or two or even a long shot prospect in return for any of their available defenders. The return value won’t be overwhelming, but at least it would be something and would give both sides a new perspective going forward.

Next: Figuring Out Stars' Moves Beyond Draft Weekend

But Dallas now has an overstocking that they have to fix. It has them in a tight spot, but it’s nothing that an offseason can’t fix. Something’s gotta give.

The only question is: which defender(s) is/are going?