By Martin Iheke
It has been, to say the least, a tumultuous week for your Dallas Stars. After failing to show up at home against the Anaheim Ducks by getting shutout, 4-0, general manager Joe Nieuwendyk had seen enough and the next day decided to trade forwards Jaromir Jagr, Derek Roy and Tomas Vincour. The team was sputtering again and showing no energy after the last two home games. After going through the last two seasons of not making any deals at the deadline in order to make a run at the postseason only to come up short, this time Nieuwendyk made the call to move into a different direction.
“Well, I think decisions are always difficult and my responsibility to assess where I feel our team is at. We’ve been in this position before over the last three years in my tenure, where you’re either a point in or a point out and you’re knocking on the door,” Nieuwendyk said according to dallasnews.com. “I felt this year that it was an opportunity for us to move some expiring contracts along to receive some good young assets and picks in a very deep draft. It’s a unique season with only 12 games remaining after the trade deadline, so I really felt this was an opportunity to put our organization in a good position moving forward,” as he continued. He traded Jagr to the Boston Bruins for forward Lane MacDermid, prospect Cody Payne and a 2013 conditional 2nd round draft pick that can be a 1st if the Bruins make it to the Conference Finals. He traded Roy to the Vancouver Canucks for defensemen prospect Kevin Connauton and a second round draft pick. He also traded Vincour to the Colorado Avalanche for another defensemen prospect Cameron Gaunce.
It is clear Nieuwendyk wants to go younger, faster and bigger as well as stockpile a lot of draft picks for this year’s draft that is considered to be a very deep one. In this new era of the NHL where size, speed and skill mostly dominate like you see with teams like the Chicago Blackhawks, Pittsburgh Penguins and the Los Angeles Kings, this is not a bad direction to go in. For now, the Stars will have to go with what they have to finish out the season. Jamie Benn, Loui Eriksson, Ray Whitney, Erik Cole and Stephane Robidas will have to be the leaders down the stretch on and off the ice if this team still has hopes of reaching the playoffs. If the last three games since the trades were made are any indication that they could make a run then we are in for an exciting finish to the season.
Even though the Stars lost, 5-2, again to the Ducks in Anaheim last Wednesday, the team was very competitive. Newcomer, Lane MacDermid scored his first career NHL goal in the loss. The Stars finally ended their three-game losing streak when they beat the Ducks, 3-1, in Anaheim last Friday. Rookie forward Alex Chiasson scored his first NHL goal and MacDermid scored another in the win. The Stars then traveled up the coast to play the San Jose Sharks in San Jose and beat them, 5-4, in the shootout. They had to come back from two goal deficits twice to earn the victory and head coach Glen Gulutzan was pleased with the effort after the game. “There’s people counting us out on two fronts, but we’re going to battle and you could see that tonight in the resiliency of the group. It’s just one day at a time,” Gulutzan said according to dallasnews.com.
Alex Chiasson continues to impress with his two goals in the game earning him the first star. His ability to drive towards the net and having the sense to be in the right areas to make plays as well as score is what is really impressive about him. The Stars will continue to see if they can make a late run towards the playoffs when they travel to Nashville to take on the Predators on Friday before returning home the next night to play the Sharks again. They play at the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday.