Dallas Stars: Examining Their Situation In 2021 Expansion Draft

DALLAS, TX - DECEMBER 3: Jamie Benn #14, Tyler Seguin #91 and the Dallas Stars celebrate a goal against the Edmonton Oilers at the American Airlines Center on December 3, 2018 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - DECEMBER 3: Jamie Benn #14, Tyler Seguin #91 and the Dallas Stars celebrate a goal against the Edmonton Oilers at the American Airlines Center on December 3, 2018 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images) /

Seattle will be home to the NHL’s 32nd franchise just in time for the 2021-22 season. But when the expansion draft rolls around in June 2021, what will the Dallas Stars look like?

In just a few short seasons, the Dallas Stars will have a new divisional foe in the Arizona Coyotes to brawl with in Central division play. But why, you might ask?

If you haven’t already received a notification or heard the big news, the NHL made a big announcement on Tuesday morning. This announcement had to do with the potential of league expansion and the NHL’s outlook moving forward.

As a result, the city of Seattle was confirmed as the location of the NHL’s newest franchise. The plan for expansion had begun taking shape over the past year and was made official on Tuesday. The new team will settle into the Pacific division, leaving Arizona to make the jump to the Central.

So, now that Seattle will own the 32nd team in the National Hockey League, what does that mean for the rest of the league? Well, not much for right now.

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The new Seattle team will not play their first season until 2021. So, not this season, or the next season (2019-20), OR the next season (2020-21), but the season after that. In other words, there’s still plenty of time before they jump into action. In that time, Seattle will have to finish renovations on their arena, build a hockey headquarters and new facilities, and pick a mascot.

But, as June of 2021 approaches, the rest of the NHL will be pulled into the whirlwind as the most exciting and stressful part of any expansion process comes into play: the expansion draft.

When the Vegas Golden Knights (who will be exempt from the 2021 Expansion Draft) drafted their new roster in June 2017, it left all 30 NHL teams with some difficult decisions to make. As a result, things will probably be very similar when 2021 comes around.

So, what do you need to know about the Dallas Stars and their situation in the upcoming expansion draft?

Well, considering how far off it is into the future, it would be incredibly folly to try and predict which player the team will lose to Seattle. After all, no one predicted that Cody Eakin would be the odd man out in the summer before the Vegas draft. This is three summers we’re talking about. Any number of things can happen between now and then.

But, we can at least take a look at the parts of the Stars’ situation that will be guaranteed going into 2021. Let’s take a quick look at it.

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  • With the expansion announcement, the NHL also noted that the expansion draft rules would be the same as they were for Vegas. With that being said, the Dallas Stars have the option to either protect seven forwards, three defensemen, and a goaltender OR a total of eight skaters and a goaltender.

    Players with a no-movement clause in their contract at that time must be protected by their team (unless the player waives the clause) and will count against the team’s protected spots. In addition, all first and second year NHL players will be exempt from selection.

    In 2017, the Stars went with the first option, protecting players like Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, and Radek Faksa on offense and John Klingberg, Esa Lindell, and Stephen Johns on defense. Ben Bishop was the goalie protected in the crease considering he had recently signed a long-term deal with Dallas that included a NMC.

    But as they approach the 2021 draft, the Dallas Stars will have a significantly different look.

    First off, they have four players who will require protection right off the bat. Benn, Seguin, Bishop, and Alexander Radulov all have no-movement clauses and will still be under contract in 2021, meaning that Dallas already has three forwards and a goalie locked up.

    Things get even more complicated when you look at the defense. With Klingberg, Lindell, Johns, Miro Heiskanen, and potentially even Gavin Bayreuther all being eligible for the draft by the summer of 2021, who do you protect? Do you take the second route and protect only four defenders but risk up to three forwards at that expense? Or do you gamble and protect three defenders and seven forwards? What about making a trade with the Seattle GM to protect certain players?

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    There are a lot of moving pieces, and they get even more confusing when you try to figure out what the next 2.5 years will hold. Which Dallas Stars will become full-time professionals? Which players will be traded away? Which players will be brought in?

    It’s obvious that there are too many pieces at the moment, so don’t rupture a blood vessel trying to figure it all out.

    But it’s definitely something to keep in the back of your mind. As the youth movement continues in Dallas and a new generation of Stars step into the spotlight, it could potentially set them up for some tough decisions come June 2021.

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    That’s still over two years away, though. So, why worry about it now, right?