We are sure everyone is spinning with the trades the franchise made this week. Tom Gaglardi, Joe Nieuwendyk, and I want to give you our insight into the process we’ve just come through and what it means to the near and long term prospects of our franchise.
First, one of the most difficult things hockey teams have to do at this time of the year is weigh their chances of competing for the Stanley Cup against the existing market place for veteran players, particularly veteran unrestricted free agents. In our case, Brenden Morrow, Jaromir Jagr, and Derek Roy were all unrestricted free agents after this season. That meant that we may only have been able to keep them for 12 or so more regular season games. Faced with that prospect, over the course of the last week, each player was purchased from us for solid, young prospects and/or draft picks. Believe me, we did our best to maximize the value for each player and did the best we could for the future of the Dallas Stars.
Secondly, we feel that by taking the steps we have, we are turning our franchise over to the next generation of players…led by Kari Lehtonen, Jamie Benn and Loui Eriksson. We intend to surround them with quality veteran players and individuals, but our future will be in the hands of our young gun players like Cody Eakin, Brenden Dillon, Jamie Oleksiak, Reilly Smith, Alex Chiasson, Brett Ritchie, Joe Morrow, Jack Campbell, Radek Faksa, Kevin Connauton, Cody Payne, John Klingberg, Patrik Nemeth, etc…and those we draft in June with the 3 extra draft picks we have acquired in the first two rounds.
With all that said, we know we are a stronger franchise today than we were two weeks ago, and built for the future. Our AHL franchise, the Texas Stars, continues to lead the entire American Hockey League (AHL) with a record of 39-17-11. Our trades this week solidify that franchise and position us for a terrific shot at the Calder Cup, the second hardest trophy to win in pro hockey! At the same time, we, as management, and you as fans, will get a great look at several of our younger players at the NHL level over the last three weeks of the season.
We continue to strive to move this franchise into position to compete for the Stanley Cup every season. We appreciate and need your support more than ever. You have Tom Gaglardi’s and my commitment to do everything we can to continue to build this franchise into a winner. Thanks for your continued support. We look forward to entertaining you at the AAC during our April home games:
•Tuesday, April 9th – Cup champion Kings
•Saturday, April 13th – Fierce division rival, San Jose Sharks
•Thursday, April 18th – Presidents Trophy holder, Canucks (Derek Roy returns)
•Thursday, April 25th – Surging Columbus Blue Jackets
•Thursday, April 27th – Detroit Red Wings’ only visit to Dallas in 12-13
James R. Lites