There are three ways to acquire assets: via free agency, via draft, and via trade. Some teams attract the big name free agents – the Dallas Stars aren’t that team. Some have had the fortune (if you want to call it that) of drafting high enough to add high end talent to their lineup to build around immediately – the Dallas Stars haven’t been that team.

They’ve remained in or around the middle of the pack for some time now and although they’ve been able to add some nice pieces, the high end talent in the prospect pool runs a little thin after the top three or so, especially at the forward position.

So how do they go about adding to the future core of this team?

Regardless of how you want to rate the current prospect pool, and it does have its gems, the fact is there are some veterans on the current roster that are not and should not be in the team’s long term plans. They could be flipped in to younger talent.

 

Brenden Morrow – Years of sacrificing his body has caught up to him, and he’s just not the same. Even if that’s the case, his reputation still follows him so you can bet there would be teams interested in adding a warrior like that for a long playoff run. He’s scheduled to be a UFA at the end of the season and at age 34, he’s likely not in for another long term contract. What he has left in the tank to offer this team over say the next couple years should he be re-signed, may not match the value of what he could bring in return via trade. Is it finally time to part ways? Morrow has a NTC so he has a say in that too.

Michael Ryder – A good signing by Joe prior to last season, Ryder has brought his goal scoring prowess to the Stars and has rounded out the top six nicely. He’s worked well with Jamie Benn and Loui Eriksson, but has yet to really find his game this season playing mostly with new center Derek Roy. He’ll be 33 at the end of March and like Morrow, is scheduled to become a UFA. He still has his shot and would definitely help round out someone else’s top six, or even just add some scoring depth like he did so well with Boston when they won it in 2011.

Jaromir Jagr – I know I know, trade Jagr? Well, let’s be realistic here. If this team isn’t in a playoff position come deadline, what do they need him for? He likely attracts the most offers out of anyone. He’s only signed on for this season and at age 41, will he even want to come back ? He’s still in phenomenal shape and by all accounts can still play, not to mention the experience  and work ethic he’s brought is invaluable and should leave an ever lasting impression on the youngsters. I’m certainly not opposed to keeping him around and re-signing him if he wants to return, but that’s something that he and management will have to discuss ahead of time.

Ray Whitney – Like Jagr, his experience and work ethic is appreciated and he can still play the game. He was also brought in to round out the top six and help with the power play. The 40 year old is currently on IR with a broken bone in his foot, but has been productive in his eight games so far notching two goals and six points. It’s unlikely he goes anywhere as he is signed for another year and there really isn’t any top six talent pounding on the door to take his spot.

Stephane Robidas – He’s given his heart and soul to this  franchise for the better part of his career, but he’ll be 36 on March 3 and could attract takers come deadline. Defensemen are always a sought after commodity for any playoff team and Robidas should be that. Like Whitney, he still has another year left on his contract and that means he wouldn’t be just a rental for any potential trade partner. That also means management will have to decide if he has a place on this team come next season or if it’s time to turn the page. His return likely wouldn’t be substantial so barring this team really derailing, it could be more worth it to keep him around at least for the rest of the season then re-evaluating in the off season.

 

This is not a knee-jerk reaction to just blowing a 3-1 third period lead to Calgary. I’m certainly not suggesting we fold our tent or completely decimate the roster of its veterans and void any potential miracle run. This is about evaluating and being one step ahead of the game – turning assets in to assets rather than letting them diminish or disappear in to thin air.

The likes of Jamie Benn; Jack Campbell; Jamie Oleksiak; and Cody Eakin, will need others like them to be on board if the Stars are going to compete with teams currently ahead of them in the young talent department. And those “others” have to be acquired somehow. For the Stars, turning older assets in to younger ones (Mike Ribeiro for Cody Eakin for example) could very well be its saving grace.

Whether this team is barely in or barely out come trade deadline on April 3, Joe and co. absolutely have to do their diligence and weigh out what a player can still bring versus what he can bring via trade. The only real problem is, this team hasn’t played a playoff game in five years and trading away veterans if a playoff position seems attainable won’t go over well with anyone.

Tough decisions will need to be made, regardless.

 

Thanks for reading. Comments always appreciated. Check me out on Twitter at travcurrie

 

 

 

 

When my older brother and I were kids our dad took us to an NHL All-Star practice. Admittedly, almost as exciting as the practice itself was not having to go to school that day as the practice was in the afternoon. It was 1989 and the game was being held in Edmonton that year.

I look at the roster to see all the names on the both the Campbell Conference and Wales Conference rosters and I’m absolutely astounded at the star power that was on the ice all at once – and we were right there to witness it. A young Brett Hull playing in his first All-Star game; Wayne Gretzky; Mario Lemieux; Steve Yzerman; Mark Messier; Pat Lafontaine; Ray Bourque; and our very own Dino Ciccarelli just to name a few. We were fairly young but I remember we were in complete awe, and all these years later I’m very thankful to my dad for the experience.

And now we have Jaromir Jagr – a player who sits 8th on the all-time points list throwing on the black and gold for likely just this one season – and a shortened season at that. With the 48 game schedule, that gives Stars fans just 24 chances to witness live one of the greatest players to play the game in what could possibly be his very last go-round. Of course that’s not counting any possible missed games, or any added games should the Stars make the playoffs.

Obviously we know he isn’t in his prime – as so many feel the need to point out. He’s not the kid with the wicked mullet putting up a point and a half per game anymore, but that’s not what anybody in the organization was expecting when he was signed. As we saw last season though with Philadelphia in his return to the NHL after a three year hiatus, the man can still play. He can still protect the puck probably better than anyone, he can still deke a goalie out of his shorts, and he can still make plays that will make you say “Whoa!”.

With his 19 goals and 54 points in 73 regular season games, he would have placed 5th on the Stars in points and 4th in goals. He also added 8 points in 11 playoff games. And coming to a team that will depend on him even more than what the Flyers did, it’s possible those numbers go up. He’s a definite upgrade to the top six and should help a power play that was 25th in the league last year at a woeful 13.3%. He was dominating the league playing for his hometown Kladno during the lockout scoring 24 goals and 57 points in 34 games – so I expect he’s fully ready to go and in great shape as usual.

Jaromir Jagr is what you call a generational player, and when it’s all said and done his name will be placed among the greatest who have ever played this game. He’s a guaranteed first ballot Hall of Famer and players like him just don’t come around too often. To put it in to perspective, this franchise is now 46 years old and has produced just one player who can even be placed in the same conversation as Jagr – and I don’t need to tell you who that is. As players like that retire from this game, we wish we could see them play just one more time.

So get out there and take advantage Stars fans. Take your kids if you got em too, so that 20+ years from now they can look back and say that they saw one of the greatest players to ever lace em up – and they saw him in a Stars uniform. It will mean something, trust me.

 

Thanks for reading. Check me out on Twitter at travcurrie

 

What a whirlwind couple of weeks it’s been so far for the Dallas Stars. In the trade department, the first move was trading Mike Ribeiro for Cody Eakin and a pick at the draft, then fan favorite Steve Ott was dealt to the Sabres for Derek Roy on Monday. Joe and Tom have also dipped in to the free agent pool in the last couple days – signing both Ray Whitney and Aaron Rome Sunday, and now adding Jaromir Jagr to the mix.

Jagr spent last season with the Flyers after a a three year NHL hiatus. His 54 points in 77 games isn’t exactly Jagr-esque, but he showed he can still play and he received nothing but rave reviews from the Flyers about his work ethic and commitment. Those attributes, along with his skill and cache he still carries are exactly what the Stars need right now to return to relevancy. That relevancy has been missing for a few years now, not only league wide but at home in Dallas as attendance has been hitting lows that the franchise hasn’t seen since 1990 in Minnesota.

The 40 year old Kladno, Czech Republic native currently sits eight on the NHL’s all-time points list (70 behind Mario Lemieux) and is first among all Europeans born players. He’s not the 100+ point player he use to be, there’s a little more grey in the facial hair and his mullet has long since clogged someone’s drain, but he is an upgrade and he rounds out the new look top six quite nicely. Being that his $4.55 million dollar contract is only for one year, it along with fellow geriatric Ray Whitney’s two year contract won’t hamper the team financially down the road.

Having guys like Whitney and now Jagr around will also create a much better environment for the youngsters, which is a positive that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Quote of the day from Twitter goes to Tony Jaremko, @Stars_Insider – “Does Jagr know that if he comes play in the south, the mullet is widely accepted?”

Thanks for reading. Comments very much appreciated. Find me on Twitter at travcurrie

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