A 2-0 deficit against the Vancouver Canucks, the best road team in the entire league, can be rather daunting for any team in the league this season. However, the Dallas Stars found a way to not only tie it late, but win the game in overtime on a thrilling goal from Loui Eriksson.
The Stars, early on in the trading season, looked to establish themselves as sellers. As predicted, Nicklas Grossman was shipped to the Flyers, but I figured they could figure out a plan to grab a forward from the Flyers because they have so many. Instead, the ever-shrewd Paul Holmgren sent draft picks. Flyers won that deal, let's move on.
So what's next?
The Dallas Stars are currently on a four-game winning streak, placing them in eighth place by two points, while having played one more game than ninth place Los Angeles. In other words, this fight for eighth could go right down to the end.
The Stars could very well be in an arms race with LA. The Kings made a massive move to obtain sniper Jeff Carter, who will most certainly bolster the Kings' scoring woes. Brenden Morrow (everything) and Jamie Benn (laceration) continue to be out of the lineup, so to keep pace, the Stars need a reliable scoring forward.
Too bad the rumors have key contributors like Morrow, and fellow forward Steve Ott on the rumor block. Giving them away would be a counter-productive move to buying.
It all goes back to an adage that Brian Burke once threw out there about his teams. Would you rather make a big splash to just barely make it into the playoffs and potentially get pounded by really strong teams, or would you look at the long term plan to see it through?
The Stars need time to build, and if it means selling a little bit at this deadline, so be it. The race for the 8th spot could potentially involve 8 teams in the conference. However, whoever gets that last spot is in for a world of hurt should they play Vancouver or Detroit.
In an earlier blog I had mentioned how much I thought the Stars had improved from last season. They are deeper at forward, more resilient against deficits, and much better equipped to take on the playoffs than last year. But what's the use if the top teams in the West, clearly the best teams in the league, completely smash them right quick, and they gave up valuable assets to get stronger in the process?
That's what makes this process so awkward.
It's easy to say the Stars have some amazing prospects, like Scott Glennie, Jamie Oleksiak, Alex Chiasson and Jack Campbell, in the works. They truly have some bright new faces to look forward to. This is exacty why the Stars should stand pat. They will have their chance, it just isn't now.
The wins and improved play under this new ownership group headed by Tom Gaglardi is helping the fans flock back to the American Airlines Center. The playoffs would help attendance and revenue tremendously, too. That may be exactly why the Stars go into buyer mode at the deadline as well.
The argument is easily believable both ways. So what will you do, Joe Nieuwendyk? What will you do, indeed?