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The Official Site of the Dallas Stars

Stars Social Mailbag

by Josh Bogorad / Dallas Stars

Welcome to the Stars Social Mailbag webpage. Throughout the year, we’ll be hosting several mailbags where we answer the questions that you, the fans, ask. We only have the opportunity to answer so many questions in our video segment, but with a large number of great questions from the audience, we still have plenty more to cover. That is what you will find on this page. This is where we answer some of the best ones that didn’t make the video.

Don’t forget that you can participate in our Social Mailbags by tweeting @DallasStars and @JoshBogorad and using the hashtag #StarsSocialMailbag, or by submitting them to the Stars through Facebook or Instagram. We look forward to answering yours soon.

Now, let’s get to your questions:

@brandonjredd – What are the chances of the Stars drafting Brett Ritchie’s brother, Nick via trade, or if he were to fall?

If Ritchie were to fall to 14, I think the Stars take him in a heartbeat. He’s a terrific power forward, with the size and numbers that so far warrant his future as a NHL prospect. The fact that is brother is in the system is a great story, but Nick is a top-tier pick regardless. The problem is that I don’t see any way he doesn’t get taken in the first 13 picks. So, while I think the chances are very high that Dallas takes him if he’s there, I also believe the chances are equally as slim that he will be.

Vin Chass (Facebook) - Which AHL players do you see making the opening day?

The names that I most expect to see are Patrik Nemeth and John Klingberg on defense, and Travis Morin and Curtis McKenzie as forwards. Nemeth was tremendous in his late-season call-up and postseason. Klingberg was one of the tops defensemen last year in Sweden, and unfortunately got injured shortly after joining Texas, before he could have a true impact. However, he’s a right-handed shot – something the Stars are completely missing on their blue line – and he can skate and carry the puck extremely well. Up front, Morin stormed through the AHL last year, winning the regular season and playoff MVP, while McKenzie was named the AHL’s Rookie of the Year. If the Stars have position battles at forward to make the squad, I expect they will figure into them.

Tristan Cox (Facebook) - Who do the stars plan on picking first round?

It’s difficult to project who gets taken with a mid-round pick, because there are so many options, and no one knows with certainty who will be off the board by then. However, if the Stars choose to take a defenseman or center, there are a few notable candidates they could select. The defensemen I’m looking at are Haydn Fleury, Julius Honka, and Tony DeAngelo. The centers are Robby Fabbri, Jared McCann, and Dylan Larkin.

@THEglennnnelg - Any chance the stars will trade up in the draft?

I don’t think so. The common belief is that this year’s draft is extremely wide open, and isn’t as top heavy as most drafts. Considering that, I don’t see the Stars being willing to give up what they would need to advance their position. Especially not with other, proven options available via trade or free-agency.

@Section_314 How hard do you think the Stars are pushing for Spezza? Rumors are that we are the dark horse.

I think they’re definitely pursuing him, as well as the other options out there. As addressed in the video segment, the Stars are in a good position, where they feel like Cody Eakin can be a quality second line center. They also have two solid, young centers in their system – Jason Dickinson and Devin Shore – who they believe will make big contributions in the NHL over the coming years. That affords them the ability to not have to overpay right now. That said, they do want to upgrade and Spezza, Thornton, Kessler, Stasny, etc. all provide that, so they are looking into their options thoroughly. If the price is right, I definitely could see a deal materializing soon.

@mrsgray117 How plausible is the rumor the Stars are interested in signing Ryan Miller and trading Kari?

I must admit I was pretty shocked when I first saw that rumor. Jim Nill has already proved that he can come out of nowhere and acquire a goaltender, when he claimed Tim Thomas at the deadline. But this is a totally different situation. Kari is under contract through the 2017-2018 season, and the Stars have a lot of confidence in him. Miller is likely going to get a long-term deal at 33 years old, so both moves seem like they’d have to go hand in hand. With other needs to address, that move just doesn’t seem like something you should expect. I’ve been around hockey long enough to learn you can never rule anything out, but considering where the Stars want to improve, and spend their focus and money, I just don’t see it happening. They have a quality goaltender in Lehtonen and believe he can be the guy who helps them get back to the role of contenders.

@Willforthrill – Are the Stars going to make a run at LeBron?

The Stars love his size and athleticism, but I think they are focused on players with better skating ability. Besides, they’d probably prefer to spend that money on a center.

Tedd Bobb (Facebook) - Why did we let an awesome goalie like Nilstorp slip through our fingers, and let him go back to Europe? Nilstorp & Campbell are the future, Tim Thomas is the past.

Nilstorp was very good for Texas in the Calder Cup run, but he just isn’t in Dallas’ future plans. He is 30 years old (which the same age as Kari) and hasn’t performed well enough in his limited NHL action to prove that he can be a serviceable #2 in Dallas. At least for right now, the Stars best future goaltending prospects appear to be Jack Campbell and 2013 Draft pick, Philippe Desrosiers, who was terrific in the QMJHL last year. Thomas is an unrestricted free agent that was never going to be more than a trading deadline insurance policy. He will not be back in Dallas.

josh_clark2 (Instagram) - Are the Stars going to have a reunion and pick up Ott, Niskanen, or Richards?

We could add James Neal, too, since he’s been part of trade rumors in Pittsburgh. The quick answer is no. Ott isn’t a player the Stars are interested in right now. Niskanen would not want to come back to Dallas, and will command a salary the Stars don’t want to pay him. Richards is the more intriguing player. He loved his time in Dallas, and could fill the desired #2 center role. However, I think there are other options the Stars would prefer. One of those even being keeping Cody Eakin in that role and utilizing the money elsewhere. While it makes for an interesting story that all of these ex-Stars are available, I don’t think the AAC reunion happens.

Lou Pole (Facebook) - When does a rookie become a pro? Number of games played? Number of years played, etc.

Per the NHL website, “To be considered a rookie, a player must not have played in more than 25 NHL games in any preceding seasons, nor in six or more NHL games in each of any two preceding seasons. Any player at least 26 years of age (by September 15th of that season) is not considered a rookie.”

That does it for this edition of Stars Social Mailbag. Thanks again to everyone for participating. See you next time.

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