Stars send Nemeth, who’s been mentioned in trade rumors, to AHL for conditioning

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Dallas d-man Patrik Nemeth, the 41st overall pick in 2010, has been sent to the club’s minor-league affiliate in Texas for a conditioning stint, the team announced on Friday.

The decision comes after Nemeth had appeared in just 16 of Dallas’ 39 games this season, averaging 15:59 TOI per. He hasn’t been in the lineup since getting just over seven minutes in a game against L.A. on Dec. 23.

There’s been plenty of discussion about Dallas potentially moving on from the Swedish rearguard this year. Back in mid-December, Morning-News beat writer Mike Heika penned the following:

They need to move Patrik Nemeth. He is a good person in a bad situation, and they have plenty of depth in the minors. Moving Nemeth would help the mindset of Nemeth, Oleksiak and Johns, and I think it is necessary to help the mindset of these young defensemen right now.

That also would allow them to carry two extra forwards, and that could allow Lindy Ruff to tweak his lineup more strategically.

When we see what direction this team is heading after January 4, the guess is the potential for trades (and more than just Nemeth) will probably open up quite a bit.

(That Jan. 4 date was picked because it marked the end of a lengthy holiday break for the Stars.)

Dallas’ had a logjam on defense all year long. Nine different d-men have dressed, including ’14 first-rounder Julius Honka, and 22-year-old Esa Lindell has seen a significant spike in usage. Lindell’s TOI is up to 20:21 per game — he only averaged 14:03 last year — and he’s found a niche skating alongside John Klingberg.

As for Nemeth… well, the 16 games played suggests he’s on the outside looking in, which could translate into a change of scenery. Nemeth is 24 and on a cap-friendly deal — $900,000, expires this year — so there would probably be some interest in acquiring his services.

Of course, the jury’s still out on how effective he can be at the NHL level, if effective at all. He has just 84 career games on his resume despite debuting four seasons ago and has limited offensive upside, with no goals and just 11 assists over that stretch.

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