About two weeks remain until General Manager Joe Nieuwendyk has to come up with a plan. Are the Stars sellers, or are they buyers at the trade deadline? Several trade chips are on the table that teams could covet, such as Sheldon Souray, Nicklas Grossman, and even captain Brenden Morrow.
That last possibility is a rather interesting piece of information to digest, but no team is safe from trading their captain. Look no further than this summer when Flyers' captain Mike Richards was traded away to La-La Land. The Stars could get a good return on Morrow, but is it worth it? Additionally, Morrow has a no-trade-clause. A trade would hinge on him waiving it.
As of the posting of this blog, the Stars have kept pace in the 9th spot in the Western Conference, just two points behind the Phoenix Coyotes. On top of that, the Stars have two games in hand. Gotta love those.
The return of Jamie Benn and Mike Ribeiro from injury have steadied the club on offense after a stretch of struggling to score. Of those critical games against divisional foes, the Stars won two, and lost two. The most recent loss against Phoenix was one the club could have really capitalized on, but could not.
Here's the current situation: Radek Dvorak, Adam Burish, Jake Dowell, Toby Petersen, Sheldon Souray and Nicklas Grossman. The largest trade chip the Stars possess is the Swedish defenseman Grossman. The 27-year-old has an expiring contract that could bring in a solid forward in return, which the Stars so desperately need.
It is possible that Nieuwendyk has the Philadelphia Flyers' GM Paul Holmgren on speed dial. After all, the Flyers have lost defenseman Chris Pronger and they are in desperate need a big defenseman to anchor their back end. On the other hand, as I previously mentioned, the Stars need a forward.
This is pure speculation, but if it works for both sides, why not let it rip?
The Stars' other UFA pieces, such as Dvorak, Dowell and Petersen could also be solid additions to other teams, should the Stars go into seller mode. Keep in mind, they won't get much return on them, because frankly, they aren't premier depth forwards.
Souray could be an interesting chip to move as well. He also has an expiring contract. The veteran defenseman's return may vary, because he hasn't played as well as he did at the season's outset, and he is clearly not worth the failed contract he received in Edmonton.
All of this is contingent on if the Stars go into seller mode. Right now, it's too tough to gauge if the Stars can stay afloat in this season's battle. Right now, they look like they are not only in the thick of the race, but they look better-prepared this year to snatch a playoff spot as they did last year.
The Stars are most importantly, healthy. They are better prepared to make the playoff push. They just need to keep being pesky.
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