May 1, 2014, 1:05 PM EST
In the aftermath of their playoff elimination to Anaheim, the Dallas Stars seem to be focused on one specific area to improve next season — defense.
“Moving forward, it would be great to have a No. 1 or No. 2 defenseman, but there are 25 other teams that want the same thing,” [Stars GM Jim] Nill said. “That’s probably something we’ll have to draft and develop. It’s hard to find a true No. 1 defenseman.”
While [Lindy] Ruff added: “We came a long way from the start of the year to the end of the year on the defending front, on what we gave up, the shots we gave up and the quality of chances we gave up. We made good strides. I still believe we are a big defender away from being a harder team to play against. I think we have some young guys that could easily step in there. [Patrik] Nemeth got a little bit a taste of it. I have high hopes for other players in the organization as well that I’ve seen play.”
It was no huge secret Dallas’ Achilles heel in the postseason was its lack of blueline talent and depth. When Brenden Dillion — a good young d-man, but not an elite one — out for the first five games, Dallas rolled with a six-man unit comprised of Trevor Daley, Alex Goligoski, Sergei Gonchar, Jordie Benn, Kevin Connauton and Patrik Nemeth. The result? Dallas surrendered 20 goals over the six-game series, including seven on the power play — the most allowed by any team in the opening playoff round.
The Stars’ prospect cupboard has some intriguing stuff in it. The big one — literally — is Jamie Oleksiak, the 6-foot-7, 240-pounder taken 14th overall at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. Still just 21, Oleksiak wasn’t NHL ready the past two years (only playing in 23 games) but could be the future of Dallas’ defense.
Even with Oleksiak on the way, it’ll be interesting to see what Nill does in free agency. He made a big splash last summer by signing Gonchar to a two-year, $10 million deal and, given the relative lack of age an experience on the current blueline, could go the veteran route again — though it’s worth noting that, based on pending UFA projections, there doesn’t appear to be much in the way of top-two d-men available.
Nov 22, 2014, 1:45 AM EST
Nov 22, 2014, 12:40 AM EST
Booed off the ice at the end of this game.
Nov 21, 2014, 11:52 PM EST
It was nice.
Nov 21, 2014, 11:29 PM EST
Going from bad to worse for Edmonton.
Nov 21, 2014, 10:51 PM EST
Lucic didn’t drop his gloves. Prout did. History between these two.
Nov 21, 2014, 10:17 PM EST
There’s a history between these two.
Nov 21, 2014, 10:02 PM EST
Columbus was leading 2-0 at the time.
Nov 21, 2014, 9:40 PM EST
Ranks seventh in the NHL in ice time.
Nov 21, 2014, 8:49 PM EST
Possible headbutt in this fight?
Nov 21, 2014, 8:11 PM EST
They’ve won big and they’ve lost big.
Nov 21, 2014, 7:14 PM EST
A San Jose draft pick from 2008.
Nov 21, 2014, 6:37 PM EST
Avs call up a trio of players from the AHL.
Nov 21, 2014, 5:31 PM EST
“I really feel bad for him. It appears his parents mismanaged his money.”
Nov 21, 2014, 4:40 PM EST
Pursuant to the “Bona Fide Long-Term Injury Exception” section of the CBA.
Nov 21, 2014, 4:21 PM EST
That’s a guy shoveling snow off his roof in Buffalo.
Nov 21, 2014, 3:43 PM EST
D-man for d-man.
Nov 21, 2014, 3:17 PM EST
Currently out of the playoff picture in the Western Conference.
Nov 21, 2014, 2:29 PM EST
News and notes from around the crease…
Nov 21, 2014, 2:21 PM EST
Even coach DeBoer is surprised a backup hasn’t started yet.
Nov 21, 2014, 1:30 PM EST
Veteran Avs forward won’t play Saturday against Carolina.
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