Cheap defenseman targets for the Dallas Stars to target before the trade deadline

After making a trade last night for Chris Tanev, Jim Nill might not be done upgrading the Dallas Stars. Several cheap trade targets are remaining before the deadline next Friday. Here are some targets the Stars might look at next to boost the blue line.
Washington Capitals v Dallas Stars
Washington Capitals v Dallas Stars / Sam Hodde/GettyImages

Everyone take a moment to thank Jim Nill because Chris Tanev is a Dallas Star after last night. The Tanev trade was a three-way with the Calgary Flames and New Jersey Devils. 75% of his salary is retained, which means the Stars don't have a huge cap hit. His cap hit in Dallas will only be 1.125 million. Seeing Nill making this big move might mean he won't stop here. Defense is the Star's biggest weakness, and trading for a cheap defenseman will help round it out.

Let’s quickly summarize why the Stars need help on defense and not somewhere else:

— They have no tall defensemen prospects to call up (Lian Bichsel is on loan in Sweden currently).

— The forward depth is the strongest it’s been in a while, and there are top prospects to call up if needed (Logan Stankoven and Mavrik Bourque… enough said).

— Jake Oettinger and Scott Wedgewood are a good tandem, but they could use some help in front of them.

— Harley and Heiskanen both naturally shoot left, so ideally, having right-handed defenseman options would let them both play on their strong side. Heiskanen, in particular, has been affected by this through his Stars career.

Having Tanev’s staunch defensive skills alone will be an incredible boost. But good teams have options. The arrival of Tanev may nicely let Heiskanen move to his strong side on a pairing together. The teams that win don’t have just one configuration that works. Having the option of Harley and Heiskanen together on a pairing or having them apart will elevate the team.

To increase options and help alleviate some concerns, trading for a cheaper but steady defenseman may be the move. Here are a few options.

Sean Walker

With Tanev coming to Dallas, the Philadelphia Flyer’s Sean Walker might be the second-best right-handed defenseman on the market. This would make his price inherently higher, but after seeing Nill work, never say never.

With a current cap hit of 2.65 million, his salary would have to be retained by the Philadelphia Flyers. Averaging over 19 minutes a night, he would be an ideal addition to the Stars' defensive needs. His ability to kill penalties, even scoring two short-handed goals, would help bolster the defense.

Dallas Stars cheap defensive targets: Nick Seeler

Staying in Philadelphia, Walker’s teammate Nick Seeler could be another potential target. His cap hit of 775k is much more manageable as well. Looking at the third pairing, the left-handed Seeler could be a fit there. He’s willing to fight, plays on the penalty kill, and averages nearly 17 minutes a night. Since right-handed defensemen are more of a commodity, this may also help lower the trade price for a solid addition to the defense.

Dallas Stars cheap defensive targets: Ilya Lyubushkin

Currently on the Anaheim Ducks, Lyubushkin has a cap hit of 2.75 million, so salary would most likely need to be retained. What mostly comes to mind was when he was on the Toronto Maple Leafs ('21-'22), where he partnered with Morgan Rielly, their more offensively-minded top defenseman.

He was able to balance that role with a physical style of play. He killed penalties, played hard, and would be a third-pairing option. Since he’s a right-handed defenseman, he could potentially play with Harley. Jim Nill has finessed the Calgary Flames, adding Tanev to the Stars. If he bolsters the blue line with one more addition, it would help round them out even more.