When a player is rumored to be on the trading block for as long as Steve Ott has, there’s only two possible outcomes – they either fizzle out like Jose Canseco’s sex life, or they come to fruition. In Ott’s case, it’s the latter.
The Stars have been looking for a top six scoring forward for a while now and with Mike Ribeiro being shipped to Washington at the draft, it was brutally obvious that a scoring center had to be brought in one way or another. Turns out it was via trade with the Buffalo Sabres early Monday evening.
Not since Dino Ciccarelli has the franchise had a guy who was able to get under the skin of the opposing team the way Ott did, and like Ciccarelli, Ott became a fan favorite. Over the last nine years, Steve Ott has chirped, scrapped, and at times scored his way in to the hearts of the fan base. The NHL’s biggest pest on the ice and one of the most genuine guys off of it, The “TerminOttor” will be truly missed in Dallas. His trade value was at it’s peak, so in order to bring in that much needed skill upfront, something had to give.
Derek Roy, 29, brings that skill. His offensive numbers last season (44 points in 80 games) were down from the previous five seasons where he racked up 318 points in 350 games, but he seemed to be on the outs in Buffalo and will be given every chance to succeed in Dallas in hopes that he’ll return to form.
Trading character for skill is never an automatic win though, I’ll caution that. Steve Ott brought so much to the Stars: physicality; leadership; versatility; character; and popularity among teammates and fans – none of which can be summed up by simple stats on a hockey card. This was a bold move that could pay dividends if Roy finds his scoring touch again. Roy makes $4 million this coming season and is set to become a UFA. The Stars will likely assess things down the road before talking contract with Roy.
Also sent to Buffalo was defenseman Adam Pardy, who had three assists and was a -5 in 36 games for the Stars last season. The Stars create another $950,000 in cap space because of the move as well – so look for more acquisitions to be made as Joe Nieuwendyk and Tom Gagliardi look to realign the Stars this off season.
Gonna miss you Otter. All the best in Buffalo.
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