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Hey Heika: What realistic offseason trade could Nill, Stars pursue?

DallasStars.com senior staff writer Mike Heika answers Twitter questions from fans

by Mike Heika @MikeHeika / Senior Staff Writer

Hi there, Stars fans.

We are going to be asking for your questions throughout the summer and then during the season and hopefully providing some good answers. Here is our second "chat" with you guys. If you have any questions for me, just send them out on Twitter with the hashtag #HeyHeika or email them to mheika@dallasstars.com.

Let's get started:

 

Tweet from @MissChrisLB: #HeyHeika - there have been a lot of really wild trade suggestions for Karlsson (and also Panarin).With the full knowledge that this may be obsolete by the time you reply, what would you consider a realistic trade that both teams might go for?

Both are difficult situations, because both have the ability to become unrestricted free agents next summer. If you are trading for nine years of Erik Karlsson or Artemi Panarin, that's a lot different than trading for one year. That's one reason some teams are allowing you to discuss a contract extension. If the Stars could get one done, they would be willing to give up more in whatever trade is presented. As for what the Stars would yield, my guess is some draft picks and any prospect besides Miro Heiskanen. The question is which prospect does a team want or need? I think the Stars would be willing to include a lot of their mid-20s, like Stephen Johns, Devin Shore and Brett Ritchie (not Radek Faksa). They also would likely give up younger players like Julius Honka, Roope Hintz, Denis Gurianov, Jason Dickinson or maybe even Colton Point or Jake Oettinger. But again, it has to be the right mix for the right player. I know fans wants to assess whether or not they would do a deal for a specific player, but you have a lot of options. My guess is a deal for Karlsson would be four or five assets. A deal for Panarin would not be as many.

 

Tweet from @AndrewGifford4: What is there seriousness of Stars going after these big names like Tavares or EK? Or is it all just for show for Seguin to think we're trying to become contenders. #HeyHeika

They are very serious. They were asked to the table by John Tavares, so you're not going to turn that down. They definitely were ready to imagine a team that had Tavares, Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn long term. They pursued Karlsson because of his unique talent, but the thought process is the same. The Stars are ready to load up the top of the lineup if they feel they can get the right guy.

 

Tweet from @chalkXoutline: What forwards do you think the Stars may be interested in, and have they spoken to teams about any of them? #HeyHeika

As much as I know all of this talk has made fans hungry for a move, my guess is everything will slow down if Karlsson is traded someplace else. The Stars are open to a big move that will improve the team, but I don't think they are just going to jump to the next guy. They feel they have a good enough roster that they can be patient. Trades happen all of the time, even during the season, so they are a team that wants to win now, but they know that whatever deal they make will need to be the right deal.

 

Tweet from @wesalawrence: #heyheika - whether they actually land the guy or not, I'm curious as to your take on the Stars and Karlsson. Is defense still a critical area of need, or was this just an opportunity to land a generational player? Would you have included Miro?

I think this is a chance to add a real difference-maker, and they would be willing to adjust some of their needs to do it. Erik Karlsson would be a good fit with Marc Methot (who he played with in Ottawa) and with John Klingberg (who he has played with internationally and who he could mentor), so the Stars believe that would make his acquisition a good fit. I would not include Miro Heiskanen, just because I really do believe Heiskanen will be a great player, and you get years 19-28 (and possibly beyond) over Karlsson's years 27-37. I just think players play their best in their 20s and not their 30s.

 

Tweet from @lethal__lisa: #HeyHeika obviously it's still early days and there's plenty of time to go, but at what point do we start panicking about Tyler Seguin?

We have so many examples of players wanting to see what's out there in free agency, so it really is hard to tell. Both Steven Stamkos (who stayed with Tampa) and John Tavares (who left the Islanders) took it to the last second, and Seguin could do the same thing. My guess is if the Stars can't get Seguin done by the end of the 2018-19 season, they would likely trade his rights to another team so he could get the eighth season on his new deal. They would not just let him walk the way the Islanders did with Tavares.

 

Tweet from @Skipper70723480: #HeyHeika.........Remember when the Stars won and the cities went crazy!!!! Wouldn't that be cool again?

It has been a long time. The Stars have added a lot of good pieces and they believe their drafted players are much closer to realizing their potential. If the coaching staff can implement a successful game plan, there is reason for optimism. The NHL is a weird league, where teams can turn things around in one season. You can make the argument the Stars have underachieved the past two seasons, and that by simply playing to their potential they will have a much better record. We'll see.

 

Tweet from @Mathew_18_: Hey Mike. Do you agree with the fact that I can���t see how DAL can pass on the opportunity of getting a player like Erik for a guy who hasn���t played a single NHL game? I know Miro���s got the potential to become a Karlsson type of player, but our window is now, and it���s closing fast

No, I disagree. There are prospects and then there are top-ranked prospects. Heiskanen has the ability to be a great player for the next 15-20 years. I think you have to protect that possibility even if the player coming to Dallas would be Erik Karlsson.

 

Tweet from @itsRonnieLeeyo: If we snag a guy like Panarin or skinner, do you think Spezza goes or stays?

Because Spezza's contract is up next summer and because some players who are under contract would go the other way in any trade, I think Spezza stays. They believe he can bounce back next season. That said, if the Stars are going to take on big money, then moving Spezza is an option. Because he has an opening in his no-trade clause, the team has some flexibility in trading him in July or August (he can list 10 teams where he does not want to go), so we'll see what happens. The plan right now is he will be on the team next season.

 

Tweet from @adlgator86: #HeyHeika If the Stars were to forego Karlsson and pursue a scoring forward instead via trade, who is an under-the-radar player you think they should consider?

I always liked Matt Duchene when he was in Colorado (35 points -- 14 goals, 21 assists -- in 36 games against Dallas). He also can become a UFA next summer. If Ottawa is interested in moving him, he could be a good fit in Dallas.

 

Tweet from @StarsPotter214: What���s Coach Montys contract, I thought I read 4 years but wasn���t sure. People say dallas has one line basically. Can he change the other 3 lines into solid scoring depth without a big name picked up this summer?

Jim Montgomery signed a four-year contract, and his history is using depth. Stars management believes the team has plenty of forward depth and believes it got better over the summer with the additions of Valeri Nichushkin and Blake Comeau. Mattias Janmark had 19 goals last season, Radek Faksa had 17 and Tyler Pitlick had 14. The belief is Comeau and Nichushkin can each score more than 15 and that players like Jason Spezza, Devin Shore and Brett Ritchie should be able to get into double digits. Dallas ranked 20th in shots on goal last season at 31.2 per game, 20th in power play opportunities at 244, and 21st in power play goals at 47. The Stars believe Montgomery and his staff will increase those numbers, and Dallas will have plenty of depth scoring.

 

Tweet from @jtraviss09: #HeyHeika @DallasStars fans have heard a lot about Monty, what are highest on his list of skills for his players? Pressuring the puck in the D zone implies quickness and, to some extent, physicality?

His teams in college played a relentless brand of hockey that pressured the opposition. He is hoping to bring a similar style here. Vegas played that way last season, and so did the Texas Stars. It requires high energy and the balanced use of depth. He likes physicality, but we'll see how that transfers to this lineup. You have to play the cards you are dealt. If this is the lineup he uses, he will have some challenges in finding the right line chemistry, but the Stars should be good at moving the puck out of the back end quickly, which is something Montgomery also likes to stress.

 

Tweet from @JLinkTX: @MikeHeika I've seen mixed reviews of the Polak signing. What is your bottom line take on it? #HeyHeika

It's a bit of a head scratcher because he is slower at a time when the league seems to be trending toward quickness. On one hand, he is likely listed as the seventh defenseman and might even see a defenseman from the AHL jump over him should an injury occur, so he is not filling a crucial role. On the other hand, he is a veteran player who can help the young defensemen and offer a defensive presence should Marc Methot get injured. You can argue that a similar or better player might be available in October when teams cut down, so we will see then if the Stars should have waited.

  

Tweet from @Paulbradb: #HeyHeika It appears we���re 0/2 for major upgrades to the team. Are we pinning all our hopes on the new coach and the kids? Or are there one or two more trade options left?

They are always looking at trades, but they are not pinning their hopes on trades. With Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, Alexander Radulov, John Klingberg, Ben Bishop and some good young players, the Stars could be better than their record over the previous two seasons. There are some issues, and the new coaching staff can help fix them. Bottom line, management believes this is a good team right now.

 

Tweet from @RaiderVengance: Are we better, worse, or about the same at G �� with recent moves? #heyheika

They actually look pretty good. Ben Bishop has five years left on his six-year deal and Anton Kudobin will be the back-up for the next two seasons. That should allow Colton Point (who is coming out of Colgate), Jake Oettinger (who is returning to Boston University) and Landon Bow (who is returning to the Texas Stars) to jockey for the future back-up spot and possibly the next Stars goalie of the future. I wrote about all of that here.

 

Tweet from @ChrisJoslin: Do you like your new gig? #HeyHeika

Yes, very much. It's a little restrictive when a potential trade is happening (tough to scoop your own team), but I really believe my ability to tell stories during the season will be greatly enhanced. I look forward to establishing a great relationship with the fans and bringing consistently good, day-to-day coverage.

 

Tweet from @Don_KeyPuncher: #HeyHeika Didn't Nill say he had a 5 year plan? Why have we only moved sideways as a team, no matter who we've added? Do you feel we're wasting players in their prime by moving sideways? What does Nill have to do to keep Seguin here on a team that's not moving forward?

I'm not sure he ever set a calendar at five years, but I get where you're going. Part of the reason for the inconsistency was not being able to find the right coach-team match. Lindy Ruff had some good ideas, but the Stars did not have the goaltending to play that wide open style of game. Ken Hitchcock reset the defensive tendencies, but did so in a manner that did not get the most out of the young players. The hope is Jim Montgomery is the right coach at the right time. If he is, the Stars can start building on some of the progress that has been made in players like Tyler Seguin, John Klingberg, Mattias Janmark, Radek Faksa, Esa Lindell and, possibly, Julius Honka and Miro Heiskanen. If that happens, then the past five years will be a part of the foundation of a very good team. If it doesn't happen, then there could be some significant changes throughout the organization. This is a huge year in many regards, and Jim Nill is going to attack the challenge one day at a time. The team's success will determine his future.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club.

Mike Heika is a Senior Staff Writer for DallasStars.com and has covered the Stars since 1994. Follow him on Twitter @MikeHeika.

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