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Stars: Depth on D made Grossman trade possible

Thursday, 02.16.2012 / 8:58 PM / 2012 Trade Deadline

By Steve Hunt - NHL.com Correspondent

DALLAS -- The Dallas Stars were willing to use some of their depth on the blue line to try to build for the future.

On Tuesday, the Stars sent 27-year-old defenseman Nicklas Grossman to the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for a second-round pick in the 2012 NHL Draft and a third-round pick in 2013. Grossman is in his fifth NHL season after Dallas took him in the second round of the 2004 NHL Draft. The Swedish-born blueliner had skated in 52 games for the Stars this season and had five assists.

Nicklas Grossman
Defense - DAL
GOALS: 0 | ASST: 5 | PTS: 5
SOG: 38 | +/-: 0
General manager Joe Nieuwendyk said one reason the Stars made the deal was because of how well Mark Fistric has performed at the blue line in the wake of Sheldon Souray's recent foot injury. Fistric's emergence as a consistent presence – along with wanting to get more ice time for Adam Pardy – made Grossman expendable.

"As an organization, we felt that we have some depth at that position now, which we hadn't had in previous years, and made the decision to make the deal that we did in order to give not only Mark Fistric more of an opportunity but to get Adam Pardy going -- and we have some kids that are knocking on the door as well," Nieuwendyk said.

However, the Stars GM denied that the trade signifies that Dallas will be a seller as the Feb. 27 NHL trade deadline approaches.

"We're going to look at things that make our hockey club better going forward and if things present themselves that do that, we'll take a strong look at it," he said. "But I think it just shows today that this is not an indication that we're going to be sellers. This is an indication that we're going to be active and listen to everybody."

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The Stars actually first started shopping Grossman several months ago, but the deal didn't completely come together until earlier today when the trade became official. The recent emergence of Fistric as well as the strong performance of rookie Philip Larsen factored into the trade, as did the fact that the Stars have some young defensemen in their organization, guys like Patrik Nemeth and 2011 first-round draft pick Shawn Oleksiak, who have considerable upsides.

"You guys are going to hear some names in the next year -- Patrik Nemeth and Oleksiak -- who we drafted," Nieuwendyk said. "But I think Mark Fistric has performed really well this year too and deserves to at least get the opportunity to play more often and I still believe that there's a lot of game left in Adam Pardy. So, it's an area that we're protected."

Another factor was the fact that with today's trade, the Stars now figure to have three picks within the top 50 in June's NHL Draft. For an organization that is mostly looking to build from within, adding a second-round pick made sense.

"I think after going through our scout meetings, they really felt that in the top 50, there was a number of good players. So now we have potentially three picks within that top 50, which is key," Nieuwendyk said. "I think you guys know well enough by now we are trying to build something here that not only is a good product today but more importantly, we want to compete like the Detroits, like the San Joses, contending for Cups, not just bordering on this seven to 12 area. We want to be a consistent team."

Not that Nieuwendyk was eager to trade Grossman, who had three goals and 41 points in 333 regular-season games -- all with the Stars.

"He was a drafted player and developed through the system and has just been a tremendous pro all these years and been a good teammate. So, that's the part that makes it difficult," Nieuwendyk said. "But he's a quality person, and we wish him luck."

It means a lot to us, we're very excited. We're looking to continue to build on [our] top core talent of young players. It's just a great opportunity for us to really build high.

— Panthers vice president of hockey operations Travis Viola after Florida won the No. 1 pick in the NHL Draft Lottery