Don’t expect the Dallas Stars to turn any heads at the trade deadline. Just don’t. The possibility of the front office making a significant move probably evaporated with Blake Coleman being traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning Sunday night.
While I know it may not be the answer that some fans around the Dallas-Fort Worth area want to hear, it’s probably the right one.
Lack of Assets
Heading into the trade deadline the Stars have very few assets to offer the rest of the league. The front office lacks draft picks, cap space and reasonable prospects to concede. Matthew DeFranks of the Dallas Morning News recapped the current situation concerning the team’s draft picks.
The Stars have only four picks in the upcoming draft, having traded the second-rounder for Marc Methot, the third-rounder for Zuccarello and the seventh-rounder for Taylor Fedun. If Dallas includes its first-round pick in a deadline deal, that would leave the Stars idle until the fourth round.From ‘Jim Nill is ‘keeping all options open’ for the Stars leading up to the trade deadline,’ Dallas Morning News, 02/14/2020
In the same article, general manager Jim Nill stated the importance of the Stars making a move that made sense. “I have to manage short term, and I have to manage long term,” Nill said. “If there’s something that makes sense long term that’s the right deal, we’re always open to it. Short term, if we need something, we’re open to it. I’m going in open-minded, and we’ll see what’s out there.”
Whatever is out there, might not make sense. Sunday night, the Lightning gave up a considerable amount of assets to acquire Coleman. At the end of the day, the New Jersey Devils walked away from the table with a first-round draft pick and forward Nolan Foote. If this is the price that the Stars will have to pay for a goalscorer themselves, it probably doesn’t make sense. In fact, anything more than a third rounder and prospect or two is too steep for the Stars to pay.
The biggest criticism the Stars have faced this season is their lack of offense. However, numbers can be deceiving at times. If you look at the Stars statistics over the course of the 2019-20 season, you’ll probably conclude the team has a strong defense and a lackluster offense. But you’d be mistaken.
Take a smaller sample size and compare the Stars first 10 games to their most recent 10 games. When the Stars started the season, they were only averaging 2.1 goals per game and the team only scored more than three goals three times. Now flip to the last 10 games. You’ll find that the team’s offense became a different animal, scoring an average of 3.3 goals per game. That’s nearly a goal more than the season average of 2.7. If the Stars would have been scoring at this rate for the entire season, they would be tied for the sixth-highest average in the league.
This change hasn’t been sudden, it’s been linear. The Stars have steadily increased their offensive production over the course of the season. It doesn’t take a mathematician to figure out that the 1-7-1 start the team got off to is skewing the vantage point for several fans.
Nill also stated in a recent interview that he believes there’s still more the current roster can do on offense. “I think there’s more for high-end players to give there,” Nill said. “And even our support players, I think there’s more to give there, too. I think we can be a more determined team in the offensive zone, possession time and all that.” The GM’s statement is hard to argue when players like Denis Gurianov have grown into their position and veteran Tyler Seguin is finding the back of the net again. If players like Corey Perry and Andrew Cogliano could start contributing a goal on a regular basis, the offense only has more room to grow.
Sliver of Hope
If you’re a fan on the bandwagon for the Stars to make a move, there could be an option still on the table. The Devils are dumping their cargo like Han Solo being boarded by the Empire. If you don’t speak Star Wars, it means the Devils are likely going to have a busy trade deadline.
After Blake Coleman, winger Kyle Palmieri could be the next Devil on the move. Right now, rumor out of the northeast indicates that the Boston Bruins could be in the mix for Palmieri, offering a first-round pick and a prospect. The Stars could match that deal or restructure for a third and multiple prospects.
Palmieri is a 29-year-old player with 22 goals, 41 points, and 19 assists. Over his last five games he has registered six points. While his number might make sense to several Stars fans, don’t expect Nill to be on the same page. The first-round pick the team has to work with is considerably valuable.
You can get more insight on the Stars trade deadline situation in my conversation with Taylor Baird of Defending Big D. Episode 1 of the Supernova Hockey Podcast is streaming now.
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