Dallas Stars Trade Deadline: Which Players Are Off-Limits?

As we near the 2022 NHL trade deadline, the Dallas Stars have some names of interest around the league. While they sit just outside the playoff picture with 30 games remaining, they also have some large contract players coming to the end of their deals this summer. 

Stars That Are Off Limits 

Joe Pavelski

It is somewhat shocking that Joe Pavelski’s name has been thrown around the trade rumors at all. The 37-year-old currently leads the Stars with 55 points (21G, 34) in 52 games. He also leads Dallas with nine power-play goals and 16 power-play points. Not to mention, this is the second straight season that he has led them in all three categories. 

“It’s his ability to sniff out loose pucks, his ability to get in the open, and his anticipation of where the puck is going,” Stars coach Rick Bowness said. “He has good poise around the net. Goal-scorers know where to put the puck. You can put other guys in those situations and they’re not going to have the natural instinct to put the puck on the goalie. Joe has that touch. But you see him every day working at it, it’s not a fluke. It’s good for a game like tonight to get rewarded. He’s got natural offensive instincts that you can’t teach. It’s fun to watch.”

On top of the steady point production, Pavelski is one of the biggest leaders on this Stars team. He is an extremely hard worker and great role model, has loads of playoff experience, has served as a captain, and has been around the league for 16 seasons. His story continues to impress as he defies time year in and year out. 

“You always believe you can do it, but you have to go out and prove it on the ice,” Pavelski said. “Don’t take anything for granted – that’s something that has helped me along the way. I just love coming to the rink, and I’ve been very fortunate along the way.”

Related: Dallas Stars Trade Deadline: The Next Three Weeks Will Tell All

Not only will the Stars not trade Pavelski at this year’s deadline but it is nearly impossible to imagine a scenario where they do not re-sign him this summer. He and his family love Dallas, he fits in well with the structure of the team, and he can lead the Stars to future success while guiding many young players early in their development. 

Braden Holtby 

Braden Holtby’s situation is a bit more blurry. His season has been up and down, currently holding a 9-10-1 record with a 2.78 goals-against average and a .912 save percentage. There have been times where he has looked like the Braden Holtby that won the Stanley Cup in Washington and times where he has looked like he did in Vancouver. On top of that, youngster Jake Oettinger has taken the league by storm over the last month, playing in 10 of the Stars last 11 games overall. 

“Clearly, we’re going to get him back in here at some point,” Bowness said. “But Jake’s playing really, really well right now. Braden is a pro, and he’s a great character and a great teammate. You can see him at practice working his butt off and when his number is called, he’ll be ready to go.”

Braden Holtby Dallas Stars-Dallas Stars Trade Deadline: Which Players Are Off-Limits?
Braden Holtby, Dallas Stars (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

With all of that being said, I still believe that Holtby is off-limits for one reason, the Stars do not have any other options. Their only other NHL-caliber goaltender, Anton Khudobin, has been underperforming since his run to the 2020 Stanley Cup Final. 

Khudobin was overtaken by Oettinger last season and has not played well in nearly all of his performances at the NHL level this season. Dallas even waived him in order to drop him down to the American Hockey League and make room for Oettinger in the NHL. 

In the AHL, he has also struggled, holding a 2-4-0 record, 2.55 goals-against average and .903 save percentage. While he has certainly surprised us before, it seems that the 35-year-old may be nearing the end of his NHL career, meaning that it is Holtby and Oettinger for the remainder of the playoff push. 

Stars Would Be Open To Trades

John Klingberg

Well, we do not need to go far to find any trade rumors about John Klingberg. The dynamic defenseman has been one of the hottest topics around the league due to his contract expiring this summer and the murmurs about his unhappiness in Dallas. 

 “It’s not like I’ve been going out there and asking ‘I want to get traded now,’ or something like that,” Klingberg said earlier in the season. “It’s something that’s been going on with the negotiations and stuff like that. I’m not going to lie, it’s been a few frustrating years individually. Other guys have signed right before the season before. I wanted to do that as well. Lately, it has been going more quietly and quietly. For me, as a player, I don’t feel that I’ve been appreciated in that way when we don’t even negotiate. It’s quiet. For me, as a player, my agent, we talked to Jim (Nill) a couple months back. He agreed that we could start talking with other GMs and see where we were at. Negotiation-wise, the Stars have been very quiet.”

Since we recently did a deep dive into the future of John Klingberg, I won’t get too caught up in the details here. To put it simply, the Stars are likely going to be tight on cash this summer and Klingberg is due a hefty raise after his seven-year contract comes to an end. He has been one of the biggest bargains around the league, making only $4.25 million per year while other defensemen of his caliber make more than double. 

Related: Should the Stars Trade John Klingberg?

Klingberg has made it clear that he wants to stay in Dallas but it will be up in the air if an extension can be made. If the Stars do not believe they can re-sign him this summer, would they trade him despite being in a tight playoff race? 

Alexander Radulov

2021-22 has been a very disappointing season for Alexander Radulov. The 35-year-old forward missed nearly all of last season due to a core injury that required surgery and has not been able to find his stride this year. In 46 games, Radulov has only tallied two goals and 15 assists for 17 points. He is also second-worst on the team with a minus-16 rating (only ahead of Klingberg who is minus-18) and has seen his ice time significantly decrease. 

While it would be a risk for the team trading for Radulov, he has also proven to be an elite scorer recently in his career. He recorded back-to-back 72-point seasons from 2017-2019 and has overachieved in his two playoff appearances for Dallas. In the 2019 playoffs, he tallied 10 points in 13 games and was even better during the Stars 2020 playoff run, recording 18 points in 27 games. 

Radulov would be a pure rental as his contract comes to an end this summer and it is unlikely that an NHL club will risk signing him next season unless it is at a very affordable price. 

It feels like the Stars have been one of the quietest teams in the league around the trade deadline over the past few seasons. This year, I predict a similar outcome. While they do have a couple of players available and could potentially add some bargain rentals themselves, I believe that the coaching staff and management truly believe they have a current lineup worthy of another deep playoff run.