Greetings and welcome to another edition of the mailbag.
Let’s get started:
@seanshapiro what are the options/future of the goaltending situation?
— Sam Hodde (@samhodde) January 19, 2017
There are three goalies I would look at this summer, and the names aren’t Marc-Andre Fleury or Ben Bishop.
I think the required money, injury history, and overall benefit of Bishop and Fleury aren’t worth the investment.
If I were the Stars I’d look at Scott Darling, Annti Raanta, and Philipp Grubauer. All three are back-ups in their mid-20s right now, but are getting ready to enter the prime of their careers.
Is it a bit risky? Yes. Will it be tricky to make the move happen? Yes.
But I’m not a fan of signing another aging goalie and giving them a contract based on past performances. I’d rather find a goalie that is on the upswing like Darling, Raanta, or Grubauer.
@seanshapiro read some writers are thinking we protect Hamhuis from expansion. Assuming no trades, you have a new list for your choices?
— Zac Gibbons (@zg54362) January 19, 2017
I have a list, but it’s fluid and can easily be changed before the end of the season.
However at this moment, assuming no trades, I would protect the following players in the expansion draft:
1. Jamie Benn
2. Tyler Seguin
3. Jason Spezza
4. Radek Faksa
5. Valeri Nichushkin
6. Brett Ritchie
7. Cody Eakin
It was a tough final choice between Eakin, Ritchie, and Antoine Roussel. I think whomever of those three are left unexposed will be selected by Vegas. Things could change, but I think Eakin has finally found his game and defensive centers are more valuable than pesky wingers.
In my mind you still have to protect Nichushkin, who I think could be back in the NHL next season — especially if the Stars have a new head coach.
On defense I’m protecting the following:
1. John Klingberg
2. Stephen Johns
3. Esa Lindell
Now, I think Dan Hamhuis could still be part of the Stars next season, I think he’d be a great partner for Julius Honka’s full rookie season. However, in asset management I take the risk and protect my long-time defensive core that I want to build around.
1. Maxime Lagace
Lagace doesn’t deserve to be protected, but it allows you to leave Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi exposed and hope that Vegas takes one and gives Jim Nill a chance to re-set the goalie depth chart.
@seanshapiro does Gurianov’s play / statehood impact Val’s return to the Stars?
— Matt Lawson (@Matt_Lawson21) January 19, 2017
No. Gurianov and Nichushkin are both Russian wingers, and then the commonalities come to an end.
To paint them with broad strokes because of their nationality would be similar to painting all Canadian players the same.
I don’t think Nichushkin cares about Gurianov’s game and vice versa. However, I do think there is an outside chance both could be in the NHL next season with Dallas.
If Gurianov continues to have a dominant second half in the AHL, like he’s had after the World Junior Championships, he could win an NHL job out of training camp next season.
I think Nichushkin and his agent will consider returning to the NHL next season, especially if the Stars change coaches. Nichushkin is under contract in the KHL for next season, but as we saw with Gurianov this season, players can get out of KHL contracts.
@seanshapiro Seems like there are more goals being scored across the league this season. Is the goals per game average up compared to last season so far?
— Chase. (@crajr_19) January 19, 2017
I wrote a full story about this for FanRag Sports yesterday, check that out here:
The NHL and the art of the blowout – https://t.co/iWI71kaD2X
— Sean Shapiro (@seanshapiro) January 19, 2017
Essentially it comes down to the condensed schedule.
@seanshapiro (1/2) I get the need to think about the future and develop players, but at what point does holding on hurt the team?
— huttonjackson (@DownSetHutton) January 19, 2017
The NHL is a league where if you have a chance to get into the playoffs you do it no matter what.
It’s not like the NBA where only three or four teams have a chance at winning a title. In the NHL, it’s not always the best team that wins the Stanley Cup, but it’s often the one that enters the playoffs with the most momentum.
If an eighth seed can with the Stanley Cup, and it’s happened, you do everything you can to make the playoffs. And if you are going to tank (see the Buffalo Sabres and Toronto Maple Leafs), you do it from the beginning of the season.
@seanshapiro Saw Derosiers had a stint in the ECHL this season. Haven’t heard much else about him. How’s he looking?
— Bottom Text (@DarianMcB) January 19, 2017
Phillippe Desrosiers is not having a good season. In 12 games with the Idaho Steelheads he has a .896 save percentage and 3.74 goals against average.
Desrosiers is only 21, but we are starting to see some of the problems that arose with Jack Campbell. He’s inconsistent — stopping 50 shots one night, allowing nine goals the next — and he seems to have mental lapses in his game.
There is a lot of talent there and he still has potential, but I also said the same thing about Campbell.
@seanshapiro at this point, I just don’t see us turning the season around. I know we overachieved last year, but to be this bad this year? ?
— AndrewGifford4 (@AndrewGifford4) January 19, 2017
If I was a betting man I would bet the Stars missed the playoffs.
However, if you are looking for an optimistic approach consider that they are only three points of a playoff spot. Anything can happen.
@seanshapiro Seems fairly apparent that Lindell isn’t thriving at 1LD.. Is Ruff just not wanting to mix things up this late in the season?
— Robby Toles (@robbvious) January 20, 2017
Esa Lindell has had a rough patch of games, I think that’s pretty obvious.
However, I would let Esa Lindell play through some of his mistakes right now. There are going to be some errors, but having consistency in the lineup has finally lit a spark with John Klingberg and the Stars are a better team when Klingberg is playing at a high level.
Long-term I like the idea of Lindell-Klingberg as a pair, but I’m not married to the idea. I would also like to see the Stars give Patrik Nemeth a chance at some point with Klingberg and see how that duo works out with consistent playing time.
@seanshapiro do you think Honka will be called up soon with Oduya and Oleksiak injured, and if so whose place would he be taking?
— Kristen Reinhard (@KristenRenee) January 20, 2017
If you Julius Honka gets called up, and I think that will happen sooner than later, I think this will be your defensive pairings.
@seanshapiro Is Sharp a possible trade at the deadline? I hear chicago has made cap room… Possibly sharp and a draft pick since this…
— Marcus Montfort (@marcusmontfort1) January 20, 2017
I think Patrick Sharp could easily get dealt before the trade deadline. I look at a team like Chicago and Washington that could be interested in his services as they try to ramp up for a cup run.
Remember, if Sharp gets dealt the Stars will have likely hit full “seller” mode at the deadline. I also wouldn’t be surprised if Patrick Eaves ends up on a cup contender for a prospect and a conditional pick.