Dallas Stars avoid trade deadline scramble by maintaining deep forward group

Jim Nill has never been one to make a move to please the masses, and his patience was on full display once again this deadline. He set the market with the Chris Tanev trade and let the deadline hunger games ensue for the rest of the league's hasty, bloodthirsty GMs. Choosing not to mess with success and mortgage the team's future will be beneficial as one of the league's top squads surges toward the playoffs.
Dallas Stars v Anaheim Ducks
Dallas Stars v Anaheim Ducks / Harry How/GettyImages

We all held our breath after the Stars dealt for Chris Tanev to kick off the trade market frenzy that ensued for a week, but no other headlining moves came to pass. Given the options on the table and the horses in the stable, it’s easy to see where none of the remaining moves could generate interest from Jim Nill. The Stars GM boasted that the team has “better options in the AHL” when it comes to adding forwards, and Stankoven has proven the seamless process of slotting in. Maybe this was a warm intro for late call-ups for Mavrik Bourque or Lian Bichsel, or the Stars already have their championship roster. 

Like most Stars fans, I’ve been riding high off of the Tanev trade, and I can’t help but think of the Omni-Man meme of “look what they have to do to mimic a fraction of our power” when it comes to the number of trades materialized in the division. Just because a GM is making moves doesn’t mean they’re a good GM. The semantics of these other squads can be equated to a business hiring to increase productivity. The Stars vetted and recruited a solid hire to spruce up their lacking defense department, whereas Colorado and Vegas have executed mass layoffs and hiring surges to churn out better human capital numbers. 

Of course, the trade deadline “winners and losers” articles will have those teams listed at the top because it gives the Elliotte Friedman’s and Frank Seravelli’s of the world justification for their heightened attention. I find myself dubious that the maneuvering of these teams will result in a cohesive unit come playoff time.

The personalities and playing styles of 3+ new players at a time can be challenging for any in-crowd of a group to absorb, regardless of whether it’s a workspace, friend group, book club, or any other social setting that demands harmony. Early returns in Colorado show that this will require some work for them to mesh (pictured below), and Vegas will have to put this together on the playoff fly since they want to activate half their roster from the LTIR on game 1. 

While the Avs figure out what to do for the 5 minutes a night that Mackinnon is not on the ice, the Stars are not messing with success. It’s quite a luxury to watch certain lines take turns being the best in the league and see opposing defenses squirm when trying to limit them. The Bennaissance revival, Stank Era, is churning out over four expected goals per 60 minutes since Logan’s callup, and the Ducks did their best to match their defense to that line. The result of that focus was multi-point nights from the top line of Pavelski-Hintz-Robo, with Miro also cashing in. All this during a season where the Seguin line has found its groove to the tune of 149 pts and a +43 rating between him, Marchment, and Duchene. 

Pete DeBoer’s “you need to know what you have,” approach to building his playoff roster is being fed by Nill’s permitted movement. The only modification was in a spot of need that happened early enough was not to overpay. Tanev already has shown to be a solid locker room add and can play off of any lefty that the team has, and they have plenty. As the Stars find him a permanent partner for the playoff race, they sacrifice little else to galvanize ahead of the championship push. 

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