- Mark Stepneski, ESPNDallas.com
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Here are some excerpts from a recent interview with Dallas Stars owner Tom Gaglardi, who shared his thoughts on the team and the upcoming trade deadline.
On his assessment of the team’s play so far this season (Note: interview was done day after the Phoenix game and prior to the back-to-back games with Columbus and Buffalo)
“We’re inconsistent. I think we have a playoff caliber team. I think we’ve proven that through different stages of the year. Clearly, there are some hallmarks of a young team with the inconsistency. We’ve had some puzzling nights, but mostly we work hard. It’s not a team that I would say I am regularly upset about being outworked. I can’t stand being outworked. I think we all know the caliber of our roster vis-à-vis the other clubs, and where we sit. The thing we can’t accept is being outworked. But that’s not something that has troubled me a lot this season.
And our back-to-back record has been woeful. That’s something that has got to stop. We’ve played in some tough buildings against some tough teams, but I am getting tired of the excuse there.”
On the importance of making the playoffs this season
“I think it is pretty important. I think it is important in terms of building your season ticket base. I don’t think it’s as important as the media has written because, in the long term, we want to be a competitive team for the longer term more than we necessarily care about this year.
“If we make moves at the deadline and if we make moves in the summer, they are more likely moves about being better longer than being better now. Having said that, we’re not going to do a deal that makes us worse now. I don’t see that happening because Joe (Nieuwendyk) still thinks we can make the playoffs, and we don’t want to jeopardize that.
“It is important to make the playoffs, but if we are going to look to improve our team then it won’t be something that makes us less competitive the next three to five years. There’s a balance there, I think.
“We’ve got some nice pieces in place with Jamie Benn, Loui Eriksson, Alex Goligoski, Trevor Daley – we’ve got five, six or seven pieces that teams would like to have. I think if we can build around that then that is probably we’re going to try to do.”
On how much where the Stars are in the standings will dictate what happens at the deadline
“We have a lot of games in February. We’re going to have a clearer picture, or not, by the deadline of where we are in the standings. We still might be in the same spot, we might be in better shape or we might be in worse shape. I honestly don’t think that is going to change a whole lot with what we are going to do. It might a little bit, but we’re not a franchise that is going to trade its best older player for three first round draft picks. I don’t see us doing that deal.
“We want to get better for the longer term and not just for the shorter blip. I think that might take the Stars out of the running for certain players you might see available at the trade deadline, those older guys. We think there are things we can do and there are players that we have identified that would fit what we want. “
Could those things cost a lot?
“They might. I don’t know. We’ll see. The theme, as I see it, is we want to get deeper where we are weak, but not at the expense of where we are today. And I think there are things that we can do. There are transactions that may or may not be available to accomplish that. I think if you ask Joe, he’ll tell you the same thing.”
On what he sees as the team’s needs
“We have quite a bit of depth at defense. The Hockey News had us in the middle of the league (ranked 15th recently). I think we’re a bit better than that. We lack that big No. 1 guy, but then so do a lot of teams. You get into that No. 2 and No. 3 three spot with (Alex) Goligoski and (Trevor) Daley – those are the guys you’d have at No. 2 and No.3 – and those are pretty good players.
“I like our D, we’ve got a lot of depth. Some of the guys that haven’t been playing regularly would be playing regularly on other teams, I think. And it’s nice to see guys like (Philip) Larsen step up and grab a pretty regular spot. I don’t think anybody saw that coming at the beginning of the year.
“Would we like to have a Zdeno Chara or a Nick Lidstrom? Yeah, but so would 20-odd other teams. But I think we’re in pretty good shape there.
“On the farm we’ve got some kids coming with (Patrik) Nemeth and (Jamie) Oleksiak and guys we think can play. We’re in pretty good shape there.
“I think we struggle on offense. A lot of times we don’t score enough goals. And our power play has been awfully inconsistent as well. I think our role players, we’re in pretty good shape there. As a glaring weakness on our team, in my mind, it’s top six. We’re young and we’re not deep enough.”