Dallas Stars: Trades

Trade a chance for young players, leaders

July, 2, 2012
Dallas Stars general manager Joe Nieuwendyk has altered the look of his club in the past few weeks. First, it was a draft-day trade of Mike Ribeiro. Now, Steve Ott is no longer a Star, heading to Buffalo along with Adam Pardy.

In the process, the Stars are constructing a team designed to push some young players forward and at the same time reduce the pressure on them.

In exchange for Ribeiro, the Stars acquired Cody Eakin, a young, raw forward the club feels has big upside. They then signed 40-year-old Ray Whitney, a forward capable of getting top-6 minutes who can help the Stars now and also provide some leadership in the dressing room. He's clearly not in Dallas much longer than the two-year deal he signed, and by then some of the younger forwards need to be ready.

On Monday, the Stars added Derek Roy as part of the trade with the Sabres, giving them a 29-year-old center they feel can play on the second line. The Stars' scouts and medical team are confident he's over a torn quadriceps sustained late in 2010. And it's a one-year deal and then he's off the books if the club doesn't want to re-sign. Essentially, they can see what he's got, and at his age he could be a part of the club in the future.

But to me, the most important thing these deals does is open the door -- and it opens it slowly, without forcing the issue too soon -- to some young players.

"There's been a conscious effort on that part," Nieuwendyk said. "We talked a lot about our young kids that are turning pro and the two kids in Brenden Dillon (21-year-old defenseman) and Matt Fraser (22-year-old fowared), we want to give them every opportunity to succeed. This trade puts people in their proper spots. Derek Roy will be on our top-2 lines with Jamie Benn. We don’t have to put all that pressure on Cody Eakin. We think he'll be an up-and-coming player, just like the others, but they can play behind them."

The Stars haven't wowed anyone this offseason. They don't seem to be "in" on the big names. But they have some money to spend and through trades, have altered not only the look of the roster, but the leadership group. Ott and Ribeiro aren't in that room anymore. It means Benn, Loui Eriksson, Trevor Daley and Alex Goligoski must step up even more and join Brenden Morrow and Stephane Robidas in that group. That's assuming Nieuwendyk doesn't make any more deals. And he may not be done.

But the Stars have a solid goaltender in Kari Lehtonen (another guy who must lead) and one of the top forwards in the league in Benn. They don't have a lot of scoring around him right now, but they are building an organization that relies on young players to step up in a variety of roles. That needs to happen for this team to march toward contending status again, and it's clear Nieuwendyk is banking on it.

GM Joe: Alex Goligoski improves Stars' defense

February, 21, 2011
The Dallas Stars made a move to upgrade their defense Monday, but it cost them one of their top young forwards. The Stars sent defenseman James Neal and defenseman Matt Niskanen to the Pittsburgh Penguins for Alex Goligoski, a skilled 25-year-old blue liner.

"Anytime you do a trade you are trying to make your hockey club better. I think when you add a guy like Alex Goligoski it really improves your defense,” said Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk. “He's a smart, two-way defenseman that is really going to help getting the puck to our forwards. I think that's been a big need for us.”

Goligoski flew to Dallas on Monday and was expected join for the Stars for Tuesday morning’s skate at American Airlines Center. He is expected to play against New Jersey Tuesday night.

Goligoski, a 5-11, 180-pound left shot, played 60 games with Pittsburgh this season, registering 31 points (9 goals, 22 assists) and a plus-20 rating. He had 37 points (8 goals, 29 assists) in 69 games last season. In 177 career games he has 23 goals and 67 assists.

“He’s got puck moving ability, power play presence. He has all that,” said Nieuwendyk. “He makes the right plays with the puck.”

While Goligoski’s offensive abilities are highly regarded, his defensive play has been questioned at times. Nieuwendyk said Goligoski, a native of Grand Rapids, Minnesota, has shown progress in that area.

“I’ve watched a number of games and our scouts have kept a close eye on him. He’s improved in that area,” Nieuwendyk said. “He’s a smart, heady player. He’s only going to get better with strength and experience. I feel that’s not going to be an issue.”

To get the puck moving defenseman he has been seeking, Nieuwendyk had to give up Neal, who ranked third on the team with 21 goals this season and has scored 72 goals in just under three full NHL seasons. He’s hit 20 goals in each of his first three seasons in the NHL.

"Obviously it comes at a cost,” said Nieuwendyk. “You give up a good young player like James Neal, but that's the way these things work - you can't get something unless you give something up.”

Penguins GM Ray Shero said there had been a lot of interest in Goligoski in recent months and that his response had been he wasn’t looking to move the young defenseman.

“In the back of my mind, if I was ever going to move Alex it was going to be for the right forward, and with James Neal I think we’ve found that up-and-coming winger,” Shero said. “There aren’t many of these young, power guys in the game and Neal on our list is one of the better ones in the game. He’s got some room to grow.”

The Stars also gave up Niskanen, who has had his ups and downs and his found himself scratched several times this season.

“It's been a little bit of trying times for Matt the last couple years,” said Nieuwendyk. “He hasn't been able to regain the form he broke into the league with and this is a good opportunity for him to get a new look with another team and hopefully get his career going."

Shero also believes a change of scenery might be good for Niskanen.

“I think the thing with Matt is whether it’s a confidence issue or maybe just a change, (coming here) might be good for him – that’s what I’m hoping,” said Shero. “I think we have a pretty good coaching staff here and pretty positive people. And we’re all (from the) U.S., so good for Matt. So that’s in his favor, so hopefully he can get back to where he was early in his career and help us out.”

Goligoski, who is making $1.5 million this season, will make $2.75 million next season, which will be the final year of his contract. Monday’s move will save the Stars a little money this season and has freed up $2.5 million in salary room for next season’s roster.

The small savings this season could give the Stars some room to make another move. Nieuwendyk would only say he is keeping his options open.

“I’m keeping everything open,” said Nieuwendyk. “There’s still a week before the trade deadline and there’s been a flurry of activity in the league already. GMs are still talking.”

Thoughts on the Alex Goligoski deal

February, 21, 2011
I’ll be honest. I like Alex Goligoski. When the Goligoski to Dallas rumors surfaced during Stars practice this morning I thought about volunteering to pick him up at the airport if the deal got done.

In other words, I like the trade. Not just because I like Goligoski as a player, but because of what he brings to the Dallas lineup. He’s a good, young puck moving defenseman who can provide some offensive punch to the Stars’ blue line and bring some skill to the point on the power play. It’s something the Stars needed. And now they have it.

To get it they gave up a good, young goal scorer in James Neal. It’s a cliché, but it fits here – you’ve got to give up something to get something. The Stars needed to improve the blue line and they needed to send something of quality the other way.

Neal’s been a productive player in his NHL career, topping the 20-goal mark in each of his three seasons. He’s had some ups and downs, some consistency issues. Par for the course for a young player. He’s a blossoming power forward and he’s only going to get better. The Penguins are getting a good deal here too.

It’s tough to give up a guy that’s provided 72 goals over the past three seasons, especially a young player that has lots of potential for improvement and is a unique talent in his own way. But defensemen with Goligoski’s skillset aren’t exactly a dime-a-dozen either. Again, it’s quality in exchange for quality, just a different kind of quality.

Even with Neal’s departure, the Stars are still in good shape at forward. When the team is healthy, they still boast a very good, deep and versatile set of forwards. And their defense just an upgrade. Goligoski is no shutdown defenseman, but his defensive game has gotten better over the years. And he’s good at getting the puck out of his own end, which is a big part of staying out of trouble defensively.

As for Matt Niskanen – the other player headed to Pittsburgh in the deal – I think the change of scenery might do him some good. He hit a wall with the Stars. He’s still has some good potential and maybe he’ll reach that with the Penguins. He obviously had a good start in his NHL career, but has taken a step back. I hope he takes a step forward with the Penguins. I like Niskanen.

I don’t have a problem including him in the deal. Pittsburgh gave up a quality defenseman and getting an NHL defenseman in return had to be something the Penguins needed to get a deal done, especially when you consider the premium being put on defensemen right now.

As with any trade, time will tell. Like any deal, it’s only one part of a bigger picture. The Stars saved some money for the rest of this season with the trade and have given themselves an extra $2.5 million for next season. How that all plays out is a factor too.

James Neal expendable for Stars to improve

February, 21, 2011
I know that fans have grown to like James Neal. I have, too. He's got upside and can be a solid scorer in the NHL.

But the Stars needed help on the blue line. That's clear. This team is struggling, dropping from first in the Pacific Division (and, consequently third in the Western Conference) to tied with four other teams for one of the final playoff spots. And Neal was expendable. The team can't trade Jamie Benn. But with the forward depth, it could afford to trade Neal. I agree with GM Joe Nieuwendyk: You have to give up something to get something.

Alex Goligoski gives them a puck-moving defenseman and someone who can pair with Stephane Robidas right now to help give that blueline corps some punch. He's got another year remaining on his contract and becomes a restricted free agent after that. He frees up some money should Nieuwendyk find another move he'd like to make.

The move makes sense for the Penguins, too. Neal gives them a winger they need. Maybe a change of scenery will help Matt Niskanen.

But the Stars can shift Benn to left wing on Brad Richards' line (when everybody is healthy) and add a defenseman to the mix who is at least somewhat in the mold of Sergei Zubov. While Goligoski is certainly not at Zubov's level, he is the closest thing this club has had since Zubov left. He can also play the point on the power play.

I know many of you don't like this trade because you feel the Stars gave up too much. We'll know more about that in the coming months. But Nieuwendyk had to do something. A good start to the 2010-11 season is evaporating and now the Stars are in a major fight just to get into the playoffs. Goligoski helps them get there more than Neal would have.

Langenbrunner should give Stars a boost

January, 7, 2011
Joe Nieuwendyk's budget doesn't have a lot of room to make moves. But the Stars general manager was able to convice the lenders that trading for Jamie Langenbrunner and adding about $1.4 million to the payroll (half of Langenbrunner's salary) for the rest of this season.

That's an important step. The Stars have shown they are one of the top teams in the Western Conference so far this season and they deserved some reinforcements. Langenbrunner gives them a right shot, he can play the point on the power play, he can bolster the third line and he gives this club another veteran leader with playoff experience.

He's a solid two-way player and coach Marc Crawford can move him around if need be to help stabilize some lines. That, in turn, should help the entire defense corps.

This probably means the Stars don't have any more dollars to spend prior to the trade deadline in late February, but that doesn't mean that Nieuwendyk can't get creative and try to improve the team by making trades that cancel out on the bottom line.

It's interesting that Nieuwendyk, the player traded with Langenbrunner to New Jersey for Jason Arnott and Randy McKay (plus a draft pick), has now brought Langenbrunner back. Nieuwendyk knows all of the intangibles that Langenbrunner brings. And the GM was quick to note that this wasn't just what Langenbrunner does on the ice, but also off it. That's certainly an investment worth making.

Jamie Langenbrunner on third line, PP?

January, 7, 2011
Stars general manager Joe Nieuwendyk said this morning that he expects Langenbrunner to fit in on the third line with Steve Ott and Adam Burish and that he could even see time at the point on the power play, something he was doing in New Jersey.

"I know Jamie probably better than anybody," Nieuwendyk said.. "I think there's a number of fronts where he fits in well with our group. We haven't had a right shots for quite some time. We've been missing a right shot, power play presence. From a performance standpoint he's really going to help us."

Nieuwendyk also likes what Langenbrunner brings off the ice.

"I know the character of Jamie and I know he's going to be a terrific fit for us in the locker room," Nieuwendyk said. "He's familiar with our organization, familiar with a couple of our players. It helps for where we are currently to have a guy that is the type of leader he is."

Stars don't make deadline deals

March, 3, 2010
The 2 p.m. NHL trade deadline has passed, and the Dallas Stars did not make further deals.

Click on the trade tracker to keep tabs on the deals of the day.

Stars claim LA winger Segal off waivers

February, 11, 2010
The Stars put Steve Ott on injured reserve after his emergency appendectomy and in the process claimed Brandon Segal off waivers.

I'll confess that I don't know much about the 6-foot-2, 209-pound right wing. But he's a right-handed shot and is 26 years old. He has played in only 27 games in the NHL. But the Stars will see what he has and he gives them some more depth with Ott out.

Ott is expected to return after the Olympic break.

There are really two trade deadlines

February, 11, 2010
What makes this season unique is the two-week Olympic break and how it impacts the trade deadline. There are actually two deadlines. The first is Friday at 11 p.m. Dallas time. That's when a freeze goes into effect for the break. After that, things resume at 11 p.m. on Feb. 28.

Of course, just because teams can't make trades doesn't mean they can't talk. You've got a lot of GMs with two weeks to talk (and watch the Olympics, of course).

Stars general manager Joe Nieuwendyk may not be done dealing. He said on Sirius Radio on Wednesday that he doesn't want to carry three goaltenders, but would until "probably the trade deadline."

Certainly, Nieuwendyk would like to add a defenseman if the price is right. But he does have an interesting decision to make on Marty Turco. He could try to get something -- anything -- for Turco before he likely exits at the end of the season as an unrestricted free agent. But if he does that, he's turning things over to Kari Lehtonen now (and Lehtonen hasn't played an NHL game since last April) and Alex Auld.

What would you do? (As I said Wednesday, if I didn't get a great offer, I wouldn't just trade Turco to trade him. He will start tonight in Calgary and right now gives this team the best chance to win games.)