With the NHL Draft and Free Agency coming up, I wanted to share my thoughts on what the Stars need to consider when looking for penitential players to look for them. The NHL Draft starts up tomorrow night while the Free Agency Period starts up on July 1 and will last for most of July as different players make up their minds on who they will play for.
1. A strong Backup Goalie
One of the biggest reasons why the Stars failed to make the playoffs was a lack of a back up goalie to help out Marty Turco. At times especially late in the season, he look just really tired and was giving up a lot of soft goals that he would usually stop. Tobais Stephen just didn't cut it with the Stars, he only played in 10 games and only won 1 with a 3.70 GAA and a weak .870 SV%. In addition, in the games he would start, he would give up a lot of goals in a hurry and could never recover. I can't see him playing in the NHL very much in his career, he will most likely be a career European/AHL goalie with maybe a small chance to play in the NHL.
As for Matt Climie, he played 3 games at the end of the season, but the problem with him is that he's mostly a goalie in the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) which is still a ways off from even the AHL. He played well in the 3 games, but by then the Stars were already eliminated from Playoff Contention and had nothing to play for in the last few games of the season.
Unfortunately, this is a draft where the goalie crop will be weak this year and they will probably won't look for a penitential goalie till near the end of the draft if it all.
2. A new #1 Defense men to replace Sergeri Zubov
With the injury problems that Sergei Zubov has had the last 2 seasons and the with Zubov being a free agent this year. Someone that can be the new #1 Defense men is a very important piece they will need to look for next year. Even though some of the younger defense men Matt Niskanen and Stephane Robidas have been increasing their roles in the last couple of years, I'm not sure if they can lead the defense men once when Sergei Zubov does eventually leaves the team where it could be this off season or in the near future. Zubov did say that he wants to stay with the team and retire as a Dallas Star and with the talent that could go far in the playoffs given a healthy roster, he thinks he could be a big part of a team that could have a shot of winning the Stanley Cup in the near future with a reduced role just like they have been doing with Mike Modano in recent seasons.
Looking at this year's defensemen crop like the goalies, they's not a lot of great defensemen to go for in this year's draft. Ryan Ellis of the Windsor Spitfires (OHL) has been mentioned as a player that not only who can physical but can move the puck really well. Some other possibilities could include Dmitry Kulikov of the Drummondville Voltigeurs (QMJHL) would be a strong stay at home defensemen who could protect the blue line and can hit hard as well.
As for the draft in general, this year is being billed as the year of the centers. However, with the Stars being packed with centers right now, they may be looking for a winger such as Mangus Paajarvi-Svensson for Sweden's IK Timra or Scott Glennie of the Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL).
The 1st round of the NHL Draft will be on Versus while you can also follow the draft all weekend long on www.nhl.com to find out where different players fall in the draft. Also be sure to checkout the Dallas Stars website at www.dallasstars.com for all the Dallas Stars News and notes during the upcoming draft weekend and the Free Agency which starts up on July 1.
This year's draft is taking place in Montreal at the Bell Center and yes, the NHL Draft is open to the public.
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