To say the Dallas Stars have made quite an impact in the offseason so far would be an understatement. While almost everyone in the Metroplex is fixated about the disappointment in the lack of offseason moves for the Dallas Mavericks thus far, the Stars are quietly reshaping their team for next season and the future. The Stars have missed the playoffs the last four seasons with the same core of players and the lack of ownership. Not liking the direction the team was going, new owner Tom Gaglardi and general manager Joe Nieuwendyk felt changes needed to be made if the Stars want to get back to being a Stanley Cup contender again. The Stars kicked off the offseason by trading Mike Ribeiro on draft day to the Washington Capitals for a second round draft pick and center Cody Eakin. Ribeiro was a nice player here, but the organization felt it was time to go in a different direction not to mention his current contract is up after next season and that he will be 33 in February. If the Stars were not going to resign him, then it would be best to get something for him rather than letting him walk for nothing. Eakin is a young player trying to find his place in the league and he will probably go into training camp fighting for a spot. I thought this was a good move for the Stars.
The other significant move the Stars made this past week was trade fan-favorite Steve Ott and Adam Pardy to the Buffalo Sabres for center Derek Roy. I know a lot of Stars fans will miss Ott and do not like the fact that he was traded, but like Ribeiro, he was a part of the core that has missed the playoffs the last four years so changes needed to be made here. I even like who they acquired in Roy. He is a little smaller than Ribeiro but is as productive, not to mention he is three years younger. He has one more year remaining
on his current six-year contract he signed with Buffalo. He did not have a good season, last year, because of some serious injuries he suffered during the 2010-11 season. “It was a huge factor,” Roy said according to dallasnews.com. “What happened with the surgery…and then I worked really hard to get back…and then I pulled the hamstring in the summer time. I couldn’t get my training down. I’d wait a month and do therapy on my hamstring, stuff like that. But it feels great now and I can’t wait to get back on the ice and get going again,” as Roy continued. A change of scenery might work best for Roy and benefit the Stars. If he has a good season, then the Stars will probably sign him to an extension. If not, they will let him walk in free agency after next season.
To free agency, the Stars signed two 40-year olds to short-term contracts who are still productive in this league. They signed Ray Whitney away from division rival Phoenix Coyotes to a two-year deal and Jaromir Jagr to a one-year deal. I really like these moves because of the leadership and experience these guys bring not to mention they are still productive, offensively, that can help Jamie Benn and Loui Eriksson. I consider Whitney and Jagr stop-gap players because they will only be here until some of their highly-touted prospects from their farm system are ready to play in the NHL. The Stars’ plan is to compete for the playoffs, next season, while setting themselves well for the future. The offseason is still young, but so far the Stars appear to be headed on the right track.