Vets Traded, Dallas Stars Take Next Step Towards The Future

With the 2013 NHL trade deadline officially past, the dust is finally beginning to settle on what was a whirlwind few days for the Dallas Stars.

One of the league’s most active participants leading up to Wednesday’s deadline, the Stars made three separate deals on Tuesday, including two of the biggest ones of all in the moving out of Jaromir Jagr and Derek Roy.

With Jagr and Roy traded, Matt Fraser will get another chance to play in the NHL (Ross Bonander / THW)
With Jagr and Roy traded, Matt Fraser will get another chance to play in the NHL (Ross Bonander / THW)

To recap, here’s what the Stars added and subtracted:

Dallas acquired: defencemen Kevin Connauton and Cameron Gaunce, forwards Lane MacDermid and Cody Payne, Vancouver’s 2013 second round pick, and a conditional 2013 2nd round pick from Boston (which will become Boston’s 2013 1st round pick if Boston makes it to the Eastern Conference Finals)

Dallas moved: forwards Jaromir Jagr, Derek Roy, and Tomas Vincour.

This is also not including the Brenden Morrow for Joe Morrow swap that happened last week.

Overall, the moves should come as no surprise, considering they are the continuation of a trend that has been ongoing for the past few seasons. The Stars have been steadily stockpiling picks and prospects as they rebuild their roster for the long-term future, and they began to see the fruits of that labour this season with a number of rookies joining the roster.

With Dallas currently sitting in 13th in the West and struggling as of late, going 4-6-0 in their last ten games, it’s looking more and more likely that it will be another year void of a postseason berth for the team. With the team struggling and Jagr, Roy and Morrow all unrestricted free agents at the end of the season, Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk made the executive decision to maximize his assets and ship them out in exchange for a variety of pieces that will all help Dallas towards their end goal of having a competitive team further down the road.

Even though the playoffs now seem like a distant dream, there are still 12 games left in the regular season, meaning that there is a lot of hockey that is left to be played. And with those aforementioned veterans now out of the lineup, that leaves roster spots open for some of the team’s young guns to step in and show the organization the extent of their abilities between now and the end of the season

On Wednesday the Stars recalled forwards Matt Fraser and Alex Chiasson, two of the organization’s top prospects, from their AHL affiliate Texas Stars, and both were in the lineup on Wednesday night against the Anaheim Ducks. Neither factored in on the scoresheet, but both played strong games and were noticeable on the ice. The 23-year-old MacDermid, who came over from Boston in the Jagr trade, notched his first career NHL goal in just his ninth career game.

Other youngsters currently in Texas, such as Colton Sceviour, Jack Campbell, Jamie Oleksiak and others, could also find themselves back up in Dallas before the year is done so that team brass can closer observe their readiness for the NHL level.

In addition to the fresh new faces, Dallas’ recent trades allow young guys that were already on the roster to play increased roles with more ice time. Cody Eakin is one of the most likely benefactors, as with Roy gone Eakin becomes the closest thing on the roster to a second line center. With 19 points in 36 games, he’s shown signs that he is ready to step into that role on a more consistent basis.

Despite there still being a long, winding road ahead of them before they are able to reach prominence again, the Stars are already well down that path, and seem confident that they are ready to take the next big step. The games left in this season will provide time to help see how far along the development of key cogs of their future core have come, as well as give those players a head start on not just joining the Stars, but carrying the team as their own.

“It’s a young team. It’s their responsibility to take some of that challenge on,” said Whitney in this March 29 article on “So you can’t be sitting there and looking for a 40-year-old to guide your team to the next level. You got rid of an older guy(Morrow) who led your team for a long time in order to make room for younger people, so it’s their responsibility to take that seriously and take that passionately.”