After fielding fielding calls and talking trades and scouting players GM Joe and the Dallas Stars ended the deadline yesterday by doing...nothing. That's right. Zip, zilch, not one damn move was made by the Stars yesterday despite having attractive trade chips and numerous UFA's (unrestricted free agents) that would have been solid rentals. Soom of the moves I understand (translation: one of the non-moves).
I can understand the high price for Steve Ott (which was rumored as James Van Riemsdyk for the Flyers or top-shelf prospects from other teams) that was asked from the 10 teams that asked about his availability (10 teams though? Didn't expect Otter to be that popular league-wide). Ott has been a staple of this organization, has captain potential for this team and would just plain look wrong in any other sweater besides the Stars black, green and gold.
The non-moves I'm not sure I get though is in keeping Sheldon Souray, Radek Dvorak and Adam Burish (and to a lesser extent Mike Ribeiro). Tom Gaglardi and Stars management had made it clear that this trade deadline would be about the long-term future of this team and there would be no short term fixes for a playoff run this season. I have to ask then, what kind of long-term future do Souray and Dvorak have on this team.
Souray (35-years-old) and Dvorak (34-years-old) are both UFAs at the end of this season and Souray at least had been getting looks from around the league. The Stars are still 2+ years away from getting their best prospects into the system and playing high level hockey, whether it's with this team or down in Texas improving their games. Guys like Souray are fine for rentals but for a team like the Stars, it's best to turn players like him over to true contending teams for future pieces.
There were reports that teams like Boston, Chicago and the New York Rangers had been scouting Souray in the past couple of weeks. Chicago ended up trading a second and a third round pick next year for the services of Johnny Oduya which is to say overpayment is an understatement. Could Dallas have gotten that much for Souray? No way, but they could have at least ended up with a second rounder or packaged a deal with Burish and Souray for a pick and prospects.
Burish has been made expendable in the past couple of weeks by the play of Ryan Garbutt, who has come onto this team and played like a wildman. He's a perfect fit as a fourth liner on this team and his play has causeed a huge logjam as Toby Peterson, Tom Wandell, Burish, Jake Dowell, Tomas Vincour and Garbutt all fight for time on that fourth line. Burish is a valuable grit player for any Cup contender and could have gotten a good return in a trade. I doubt Peterson was sought after but he's a UFA and might be let go after this season.
Guys like Garbutt and Vincour are part of the future of this team. Why hold them back?
After yesterday, it's clear that the organization is pinning all their hopes in free agency this offseason (and the hope that prospects are ready to go soon). There's three parts to building a team: drafting, trading and free agency. With the ownership troubles lately, Dallas has had to try to do everything through the draft and trades. Drafting hasn't been that great though. Since the 2007 draft Dallas has drafted 29 players. Only Jamie Benn, Tomas Vincour, Philip Larsen and Colton Sceviour have seen any time with Dallas. Trades have brought guys like Brad Richards, Alex Goligoski, Mike Ribeiro (among others) to the team, though Richards is gone now.
Ownership troubles are over now though and like I stated before, Dallas will be placing all their hopes in the market this offseason. The popular hope among fans in this market is that Dallas will be able to sign both Ryan Suter and Zach Parise. Both players will command huge contracts though and that doesn't even take into account the guys Dallas has to re-sign this offseason. Richard Bachman, Mark Fistric, Philip Larsen, Ryan Garbutt, Tom Wandell and most importantly Jamie Benn are all (restricted) free agents after this season.
Benn will command and deserves a big contract and I'm sure Dallas would love to keep each of the other players. The Stars will have around $25 million of cap room to play around with. If Suter, Parise and Benn all command around $7 million per year, where does that leave room for everyone else? Worse yet, it's almost 100% certain that the Red Wings will be going all-out for Suter and Parise. It's tough to pass up a chance to go to a proven year-in, year-out Cup contender.
Dallas needed to free up cap room in this trade deadline to make a solid run at the free agents, which is why they should have strongly considered trading Ribeiro and Robidas.
I feel like the organization really wants to make the playoffs this season and wants to keep the current team around in order for that to happen. They're hoping to get more butts in seats and hoping that the excitement of a playoff run helps to make that happen. That's only a short-term fix though.
This town is a bandwagon town (as evidenced by the Mavericks and Rangers). Aside from the Cowboys, only the die-hards will truly follow a team that only has marginal success. One year of playoffs and another struggle to return next year won't help attendance any. This is a long-term fix for the team, not one that can be circumvented by free agency (ask the Flyers, Sabres and Kings how that's all turning out).
The Stars blew a chance to help this team in the future by not making any moves yesterday. Hopefully the offseason proves to be more successful.