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.