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Breakfast Salvos: Re-Thinking the Most Catastrophic Moments in Stars History, Patrick Kane Rumors, and Parallel Universes
Why are Stars fans on the precipice?
Welcome to Breakfast Salvos. This will be a weekly feature highlighting, you, the Stars fan. I’ll address various topics you came up with, and that’s it. That’s the gimmick.
Hockey’s offseason sucks. GMs aren’t the most heroic bunch. All they like to do is tell you what can’t be done. You can’t trade for a number one center — cough, Eichel. You can’t trade or buy a number one defensemen — cough, Karlsson and Pietrangelo. You can’t scour someone’s depth to find top six talent — cough: Lehkonen, Verhaeghe, DuClair, Karlsson, Tuch. You can’t get rid of those mushy middle contracts — cough, spit; Haula and Petry.
The point here is a) I have a coughing problem and b) there’s always less to talk about in hockey during the offseason than other sports. That’s not to say Dallas needs to be a team on the prowl, looking to add more (although as we’ll get to; they might). It just means Stars fans re-visiting the franchise’s worst moments on Twitter is probably an accurate reflection of their state of mind right now.
Speaking of, I want to talk about that. What is Dallas’ most catastrophic moment?
Why draft busts/mistakes aren’t it (sort of)
Listen. I’m the first person to overreact and lose my shit over a bad pick. I had the same reaction to Dallas passing on Mathew Barzal as I did the Stars picking Ty Dellandrea over Joe Veleno; who I thought was the best player available. However, I would not argue that missing out on Barzal was the franchise’s most catastrophic mistake.
“But you agree that was extremely dumb, right?”
Of course. But here’s the thing. Draft busts are less about single misses and more about the team’s pattern of drafting. Let’s break it down. If Dallas drafts Barzal in 2015, are they drafting another center in Roope Hintz? IMO, probably not. But even if they did, what’s the butterfly effect for the following drafts? Do they end up drafting Ty Smith in 2018 instead of Dellandrea? Knowing that they have a recent first-round defensive pick, does that lead to them drafting Connor McMichael (it’s worth noting that Joe McDonnell loved him) or Simon Holmstrom (two consensus forward picks) over Thomas Harley in 2019?
See what I mean? We can play these games all day, but they get us nowhere because their ripple effects have to be taken into account. That doesn’t mean teams should be beyond criticism for botching an obvious pick. It just means I think Dallas’ draft record in the Nill era is an overall net positive. Beforehand, yea, Scott Glennie was an awful pick, but it was also symbolic of a scouting department always overthinking shit: Glennie, Jack Campbell, etc.
So when I think of catastrophe…
Catastrophe, Thy Name is Stephen Johns
When I think about the biggest hits this franchise has taken, Johns is the one go back to. Johns was not necessarily a top-pairing defensemen, or an elite talent. But he was the essential complimentary piece. Imagine Johns next to Miro Heiskanen, or next to Thomas Harley. His presence would have solved a lot of problems that Dallas’ blueline currently has; namely their lack of right shot talent. It also might have prevented the Ryan Suter signing, as Heiskanen/Johns/Lindell would have fortified 3/4s of the top four (and we know Suter can only play top four minutes).
Also, Johns graded out as a strong defensive presence his first full year.
Along with the following.
This to me, is bigger than the story of “draft busts” insofar as Dallas is only a contender because of their draft record. However, losing Johns was something that hurt in a vacuum, and has had a ripple effect since. In addition, Johns is only 31. While a little advanced, it’s not old; especially for a defenseman. Not only did he fit into Dallas’ window of contention last year, but he’d be part of the core for at least a few more years.
Sidebar: #1 People always say Glennie and that’s fine (it’s not, but you know what I mean). The objectively correct answer is Barzal. However, the one that bothers me the most is the Campbell pick. The consensus North American picks around Glennie were Jordan Shroeder, John Moore, and Jared Cowen (who Ottawa drafted right after), and his European peers were not much better. Unlike Glennie, the BPA fell right into their lap: Cam Fowler.
Same problem with the Barzal pick, only Dallas couldn’t boast a late round gem (well, technically they could, as Reilly Smith was taken in the first round but still…) like they could in 2015. There was no reason to overthink the pick and they blinked. Fowler-Klingberg, Goligoski-Demers, Oduya-Johns probably gets it done in 2016. Not only does this prevent the Kris Russell signing (which Calgary used to draft Dillon Dube; a solid middle sixer), but it also probably prevents Esa Lindell’s bloated ass contract. Whether you like him or not, let’s face it: Lindell got paid because he was Klingberg’s partner. Not because he was an elite top pairing defender.
Sidebar #2: While it was awful for Dallas, it was good to see Johns turn things around. We attach ourselves to so many things that do nothing but violence to our free will, it’s easy to lose sight of how transformable we can be with the right support. Johns was good at hockey. But hockey needed him more than he needed hockey. We could all learn a bit from is story.
About those Patrick Kane rumors
So apparently Kane’s name is still attached to the Stars (among several others). We had this discussion earlier this year. As much as I don’t want to re-hash it, let’s do it again.
The problem with Kane can be summed up in sentence: Dallas’ offense is already good enough. More than good enough, the Stars are a top 3 offensive team. I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re the best offensive team in years, let alone the best for the 23-24’ season. Let’s ask again. Why…at a time when Dallas’ blueline is, conversely, maybe the worst it’s been in years…add a forward that adds more offense, but takes away team defense?
As you can see, Kane still has plenty of fuel left when it comes to offensive zone play. It’s not like I can’t see the allure. If you’re gonna put your eggs in one basket, you might as well fit in as many as you can. But Dallas doesn’t have a spot for him. I’m not talking about the obvious: “every spot is already spoken for.” I’m talking about interlinking skills. Kane’s playmaking paired with what? Seguin’s forechecking? Is this a two-year contract to act as insurance for Pavelski? Who is Kane for?
To be sure, Dallas could make it work. Dump Faksa’s contract. But if I had it my way, I’d dump Faksa’s contract just to make sure that Steel-Dellandrea-Smith is a line. Somebody on that line is gonna be healthy scratched as is. It bothers me that one of Steel or Dellandrea will likely be it, seeing as how they’re the youngest and should be playing every game. And that’s without factoring in Logan Stankoven.
The blueline needs help. Act accordingly, please.
Sidebar: Before you say Marchment, please wait until my Tales From the Clipped piece. I’m not saying it’ll convince you to give him a second chance. Hell, it might add to your skepticism. But beyond this not being a Jim Nill move, I think DeBoer and the coaching staff love his hardnosed game. Kane would just be another Dadonov minus the puck speed. (Plus the hands, granted.)
Sidebar #2: If Chris Tanev is available at the trade deadline, do it. Otherwise this whole thing is pointless.
What’s on your mind?
To keep these coming (and help me write these), leave a comment below. What kind of comment? A random comment about the Dallas Stars. It can be about anything. I want to know what Stars thought thinking, right here, right now. Maybe you’re thinking about draft rankings. “Can I just say that Oscar Back deserves some love?” Maybe you’re thinking about what year Tyler Seguin might have, whether positive or negative.
Maybe you’re thinking about the other time Stars fans threw trash on the ice. Or maybe you’re thinking about the Jiri Hudler mystery virus, and wondering if we ever found out what exactly it was. (Cou—Snort)
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