FRISCO, Texas -- A full-blown youth movement is officially under way with the Dallas Stars. The trading of veterans Jaromir Jagr and Derek Roy on Tuesday drove that point home emphatically.
The Stars (16-16-3, 35 points) sat 12th in the Western Conference heading into play Tuesday and were three points behind the St. Louis Blues for the final Stanley Cup Playoff spot in the Western Conference.
2013 TRADE DEADLINE
Blues excited to land Bouwmeester
Louie Korac - NHL.com Correspondent The Blues finally got their man, trading for coveted defenseman Jay Bouwmeester on Monday in a move that's brought excitement to the organization. READ MORE ›
But with the contracts of Jagr and Roy expiring at season's end and Dallas already having traded former captain Brenden Morrow to the Pittsburgh Penguins on March 24 (who also had an expiring contract), Dallas general manager Joe Nieuwendyk was able to move three potential free agents before the NHL Trade Deadline, and in each case the Stars got prospects and draft picks in return.
"It's my responsibility to assess where I feel our team is at. We've been in this position before over the last three years in my tenure," said Nieuwendyk, GM since May 2009. "I felt this year that it was an opportunity for us to move some expiring contracts along to receive some good young assets and picks in a very deep draft. It's a unique season with only 12 games remaining after the trade deadline, so I really felt this was an opportunity to put our organization in a good position moving forward."
Jagr was traded to the Boston Bruins for young wings Lane McDermid and Cody Payne along with a conditional second-round pick in the 2013 NHL Draft. Jagr led the Stars in points with 26 (14 goals) at the time of the trade. That second-round pick would become a first-round choice if the Bruins advance to the Eastern Conference Finals.
McDermid was a fourth-round pick of Boston in the 2009 draft who appeared in 42 games with Providence of the American Hockey League this season. He will join Dallas in advance of the Stars facing the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center on Wednesday and Friday.
"McDermid is a big, 6-foot-3 left winger that brings an element of toughness to our lineup," Nieuwendyk said.
Payne spent this season with Plymouth of the Ontario Hockey League and was a fifth-round pick in the 2012 draft.
"Cody Payne is a gritty right winger. He's a big kid as well, has a scoring touch, has different elements to his game," Nieuwendyk said.
Nieuwendyk met with Jagr this morning prior to his trade becoming finalized and disclosed details of that meeting during a press conference.
"Yeah, I met with Jaromir this morning, explained the situation to him and it was difficult. He really enjoyed his time here in Dallas. I think he realizes it's a great opportunity for him to join a team like the Boston Bruins that are a pretty powerful hockey club," Nieuwendyk said. "He also knows that he is helping out our organization with what we have been able to acquire for his services. It was a great experience for us and for him. He's been a class act and [I] can't thank him enough for his contribution."
The deal for Roy, whom Dallas acquired last summer from the Buffalo Sabres in a trade for Steve Ott, netted the Stars young defenseman Kevin Connauton, who has spent the past two seasons with the Chicago Wolves of the AHL, and a second-round pick in the 2013 draft.
In 30 games with the Stars, Roy had 22 points (four goals).
"I felt this year that it was an opportunity for us to move some expiring contracts along to receive some good young assets and picks in a very deep draft. It's a unique season with only 12 games remaining after the trade deadline, so I really felt this was an opportunity to put our organization in a good position moving forward." -- Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk
"He is a guy that is a good two-way defenseman. He has some size as well, 6-2 over 200 pounds. He has a power play element to him too," Nieuwendyk said of Connauton. "He has a knack for the offensive side of the puck too. So we're adding another good young defenseman to our stable who in some ways is probably the most NHL-ready [of all the players we acquired today]."
Even though the Stars have traded three of the club's more experienced players over the past nine days, Nieuwendyk said he didn't feel these moves signal the organization's brass has raised the white flag and feel the club will miss the playoffs for a fifth straight season.
"Well, I think it's an opportunity. This is by no means closing the door on this season," Nieuwendyk said. "With 13 games to go, there's 26 points on the table still. These young kids will want to show what they have. Sometimes when you have that type of attitude, a team can come closer. I expect we'll play hard, we'll challenge and get a good look at our young kids."
Something just didn't set well with the club's general manager when it came to evaluating how Dallas had performed this season.
"I think the overriding factor was this team I felt needed to be altered in order for us to move forward as an organization looking ahead," Nieuwendyk said. "And again, a deep draft and the ability to acquire some young kids and some good kids in a deep draft was a big factor."
Dallas will have nine picks in the 2013 NHL Draft, including three in the second round.