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