With the rest of the Pacific division (not San Jose, they’re good to go) improving at the trade deadline, or least attempting to improve, the Dallas Stars stood by and remained quiet. Six teams didn’t make a move yesterday and two of those, Dallas and the New York Islanders, are not in a playoff spot. In fact Ottawa, San Jose and Chicago are all in the top three in their conference and one could argue that perhaps they didn’t need to make many moves. Ottawa added Andy Sutton earlier in the week, so maybe we could say that was their deadline move.
Yet the Stars are in a tough spot. They are attempting to play for this season (two points out of 8th place) while also trying to build for the future. The spoke in the wheel with this plan is an ownership situation that has GM Joe Nieuwendyk handcuffed financially.
Now the Stars did trade for Kari Lehtonen before the Olympic break and
were able to get Steve Ott signed, so it’s not as if they were
completely docile. But it had to be tough to just sit by idly while the
teams ahead of you in the division got better.
“We would have loved to get a few draft picks, and we were
listening to people, but there was nothing realistic that we could get
done,” [Joe Nieuwendyk] said. “So now we’re prepared to move forward
with what we
have. This is sort of how we went into it. We believed we made our deals
already with getting Kari Lehtonen and signing Steve Ott,
so we really didn’t expect much today.”
There were certainly a number of 2nd round draft picks being thrown
around, but I just don’t think the value was there this year to make
drastic moves worth it. You saw it a number of times (mainly from
Edmonton) but teams were trading away decent players and the most they
were getting in return was either a prospect or a draft pick.
The Stars have five players scheduled to be free agents this summer, and
none would be able to fetch anything resembling that high of a price.
So the Stars were basically forced to stay still. Perhaps the Steve Ott contract extension is crippling, but for those that were looking for a big Brenden Morrow or Mike Ribeiro trade..that wasn’t happening. It didn’t happen anywhere else in the NHL.