Dallas Stars

Dallas has really cornered the market on hip surgeries

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The Dallas Stars are quickly becoming experts in the field of hip surgery.

Captain and Art Ross winner Jamie Benn had his first last week, and is now resting up before undergoing another. Alternate captain Trevor Daley had his on Thursday, Ales Hemsky had his on Monday — and these came after a regular season in which Valeri Nichushkin went under the knife in November (granted, he had groin problems in addition to hip issues.)

Oh yeah, last April defenseman John Klingberg had double hip surgery.

But it’s not like the Stars are freaking out or anything.

“There is concern whenever you have surgery, but we feel good about the timing and about the time that each will have to rehabilitate properly,” GM Jim Nill said, per the Dallas Morning News. “If you have to deal with these during the season, then you miss almost all of the season.

“If you take care of it now, then you’re ready to go.”

The hope, of course, is that everybody will be rehabbed, healthy and ready to go for the start of next year, so Dallas can avoid the same slow start that derailed its playoff hopes in 2014-15. Injuries certainly played their role: Nichushkin missed almost the entire season with his ailment, Klingberg was slow getting out of the gate following his procedure and Patrik Nemeth was gone for months following a serious skate laceration.

As for Benn, Daley and Hemsky, Nill admitted all three were slowed this year by their respective ailments. Benn and Daley didn’t seem to show it — the former had a career-high 87 points, the latter a career-high 16 goals — but Hemsky was a major disappointment and looked out of sorts all season long.

“I think you look at all three, and all three were limited by the injuries,” Nill said. “I expect them to come back and be even better next season when they’re completely healthy.”

Chiarelli named Oilers’ GM and president of hockey ops

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Fired last week by the Boston Bruins, Peter Chiarelli was introduced today as the new general manager and president of hockey operations for the Edmonton Oilers.

Kevin Lowe, the former president of hockey ops, will remain with the club, but not in hockey ops.

The future of Craig MacTavish, the former GM who for now remains with the club, will be determined after speaking with Chiarelli.

“It’s been a real whirlwind,” Chiarelli told reporters. “A week and a half ago, I got bad news. Today, I got terrific news.

“I’m really excited to be part of this organization. It has a long and rich history. I come from an Original Six team with a long and rich history, so I know to respect the legacy, to embrace the legacy, and the same’s going to apply here.”

Chiarelli was optimistic about the future in Edmonton, one that will no doubt include the drafting of Connor McDavid this summer.

“This team has got a lot of good pieces,” he said. “It’s about getting to know the people, getting to know the players, really instilling an attitude and a philosophy about winning, and the sacrifices that it takes to win.”

Despite all those “good pieces,” Chiarelli acknowledged he probably didn’t “have enough time” to go over all the areas that the team needs to address.

“They play fast,” he said. “I’d like to see them play a little harder.”

He was asked about trading Tyler Seguin (audio).

“I’ve actually made a few trades of good, young forwards, so that’s something that I won’t shy away from,” he replied, an answer that should lead to no shortage of speculation leading up to the draft.

“[The Seguin trade] was a trade that had underlying reasons that I won’t get into. But he’s a terrific player. He was our leading scorer. That’s what I’ll say about that one.

“In this business, you can’t be afraid to make trades. … Those are ways to improve your team. … There are some very good young players on this team. Doesn’t mean that I’m going to trade any of them, but those are deals that you can’t be afraid to make.”

Report: Chiarelli to join Oilers’ front office

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Bob Nicholson recently took over as the Edmonton Oilers’ CEO and it looks like he’s wasting no time making some major changes to the team’s front office. Edmonton could announce as soon as tomorrow that former Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli will be joining the club, according to Oilers Nation.

Chiarelli has reportedly been talking with Nicholson for a couple of days. What position he’s been interviewing for isn’t known, but he will likely become the president of hockey operations, per TSN’s Bob McKenzie and CBC’s Elliotte Friedman.

That job currently belongs to Kevin Lowe and it’s not yet clear if this will involve Lowe being demoted, fired or making a lateral move to make room for Chiarelli. It also remains to be seen what this means for GM Craig MacTavish.

The Edmonton Oilers haven’t made the playoffs since 2006, but there’s reason to be optimistic about their future after they won the draft lottery. The presumptive first overall pick, Connor McDavid, is a potential game changer for Edmonton, but at the same time, the Oilers haven’t been lacking young, skilled forwards. Instead, it’s their inability to build around the young talent they already have, or in some cases perhaps deal some of those assets for defensive or goaltending help, that’s been their ongoing issue.

Although Chiarelli’s cap management and some of his moves, like his decision to trade Tyler Seguin to Dallas, came under fire in Boston, he would bring with him an impressive resume of success. The Bruins missed the playoffs this season, but under Chiarelli’s watch they won the Stanley Cup in 2011, reached the Final again in 2013, and claimed the Presidents’ Trophy in 2014.

Related:

So…what do the Oilers do now?

Poll: Who would get your vote for the Calder Trophy?

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This year’s Calder Trophy race was close enough that there’s no one right answer to the question of who was this year’s Rookie of the Year. We now know that Florida’s Aaron Ekblad, Calgary’s Johnny Gaudreau, and Ottawa’s Mark Stone are the finalists, but an argument could be made that Filip Forsberg with the Nashville Predators or John Klingberg of the Dallas Stars were also worthy of being on that list.

Then there’s St. Louis Blues goaltender Jake Allen and Winnipeg Jets netminder Michael Hutchinson. They both played important roles for their respective clubs this season in a critical position. Should either of them have been given more consideration?

You can vote for your pick for the Calder Trophy below:

Of course, there’s one major first year player that’s gone unmentioned. Ottawa Senators goaltender Andrew Hammond wasn’t eligible for Calder Trophy consideration because the 27-year-old was too old. Even if he was eligible, it’s hard to say if he would have been a finalist. On the one hand he had a dominant 1.79 GAA and .941 save percentage, but he only played in 24 contest.

So as a bonus, would you have considered Hammond as worthy of winning the Calder Trophy if he was eligible?

For a more detailed rundown of what each rookie did: Tight Calder Trophy race down to Ekblad, Gaudreau, Stone

Tight Calder Trophy race down to Ekblad, Gaudreau, Stone

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This year featured a tight race for the Calder Trophy with several candidates worthy of being called the Rookie of the Year. However, only one can win and tonight we learned that the three candidates are Florida’s Aaron Ekblad, Calgary’s Johnny Gaudreau, and Ottawa’s Mark Stone.

At this point it’s not surprising to see Gaudreau’s name on the list of Calder Trophy finalists, but going into the season there was a lot of skepticism about him. He was the 2014 Hobey Baker Award winner after scoring an incredible 80 points in 40 NCAA contests with Boston College, so obviously he had potential offensively, but there were concerns about the 5-foot-9 forward’s ability to adjust to the NHL given his size. Aware of that perception, he reached out to other undersized forwards like Martin St. Louis before the start of the season to get their advice.

“I’ve just got to make sure I follow in their footsteps and do what they’ve been doing,” Gaudreau said back in July. He’s taken a great first step by scoring 24 goals and 64 points in 80 contests with the Calgary Flames.

Out of all the rookies that stepped up this season, Mark Stone was perhaps the biggest surprise. Originally taken in the sixth round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, Stone had to hone his game in the minors before being able to earn a regular spot with Ottawa. He got off to a solid start this season, but it wasn’t until Dave Cameron took over as the team’s bench boss that his playing time grew substantially. He repaid Cameron’s trust by scoring 15 goals and 38 points in 36 contests after the All-Star break. No other rookie even came close to matching Stone’s pace during that stretch and if the NHL season was just a few weeks longer, he might have been regarded as the undisputed favorite for this year’s rookie honors.

As it is Stone still ended up tying Gaudreau for first place in the scoring race.

Unlike Stone or Gaudreau, Aaron Ekblad managed to jump straight into the NHL after being drafted. While that’s pretty much the standard for a first overall selection, it is still very rare to see a defenseman be this effective as a teenager. He had 12 goals and 39 points in 81 contests while also leading the Panthers with a plus-12 rating. Perhaps the most impressive thing about him though is the level of trust he earned with the Panthers, as evidenced by his average of 21:48 minutes per contest.

Of course in a year with this many strong rookie seasons, there’s bound to be snubs and Filip Forsberg arguably tops that list.

The Nashville Predators have been hurting for a top-end skilled forward for a while and their search seems to be over. Although Forsberg needed to spend the 2013-14 campaign adjusting to North America hockey after playing predominantly in Sweden prior to that, he hit the ground running this season with 14 goals and 35 points in 36 contests by New Year’s Day. At one point he looked like the heavy favorite to win this year’s Calder Trophy, but he slowed down somewhat in the second half and consequently finished a close third in the scoring race with 63 points in 82 contests.

John Klingberg is another big snub. He didn’t make his NHL debut until Nov. 11, but he still led all rookie defensemen in scoring. The 22-year-old had 11 goals and 40 points in 65 contests while making the transition from Sweden. Stars GM Jim Nill was so impressed by Klingberg that he handed the blueliner a seven-year, $29.75 million contract despite the relatively small sample size. So while he won’t get the Calder, his efforts were far from unrecognized.