With Dallas teetering on the edge of playoff contention — the Stars head into tonight’s game versus St. Louis six points back of San Jose for the final wild card spot in the Western Conference — two of the club’s most experienced players know they could be up for grabs when the Mar. 2 trade deadline rolls around.
“I think one of the things that has changed since I came into the league is that nowadays, everyone is aware of everyone else’s situation,” Erik Cole said, per the Dallas Morning-News. “You know what’s going on with players, and you know what could happen.”
“My best situation is we win some games and you don’t trade anybody,” Horcoff added. “That’s what I would prefer.”
Cole, 36, is in the last of a four-year, $18 million deal with a $4.5M cap hit. Horcoff, also 36, is in the last of a six-year, $33 million deal with a $5.5M cap hit. While those price tags are reasonably high, both go unrestricted on July 1 and, as far as rentals go, bring plenty to the table — Cole has 46 games of playoff experience and has played in two Stanley Cup Finals, winning with Carolina in 2006; Horcoff has 41 games of postseason experience and famously scored 19 points in 24 games during Edmonton’s surprise run to the ’06 Final (where, ironically enough, the Oilers lost to Cole’s Hurricanes.)
As such, focus turns to Stars GM Jim Nill. At what point — if at all — will he cede the chase for the postseason? Aside from being six back of the last spot, the Stars need to leapfrog two red-hot teams (Los Angeles and Minnesota, sitting ninth and 10th in the west) and adjust to life without leading scorer Tyler Seguin, who’s out 3-6 weeks with a knee injury.
Dallas’ first game without Seguin didn’t go well, as it lost 4-1 in Colorado on Saturday. That, plus a rough upcoming schedule — the Stars’ next five games are against the Blues, Sharks, Red Wings, Wild and Jets — could push Nill into sales mode, at which point Cole and Horcoff would almost certainly be in play.