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2016 NHL Draft Rewind: Where are Stars' picks now?

From Riley Tufte to Jakob Stenqvist, DallasStars.com's Mike Heika looks back at the team's six selections

by Mike Heika @MikeHeika / Senior Staff Writer

The 2016 NHL Draft came after the Stars posted a 109-point regular season, their best since 2005-06, leaving them with the 25th pick in the first round.

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Will 'great test' lead Janmark to bigger deal next summer?

Nill says the 'valuable' forward is eager to prove himself after re-signing with the Stars on a 1-year contract

by Mike Heika @MikeHeika / Senior Staff Writer

Mattias Janmark knows a thing or two about challenges, so the 2019-20 season should be something he can face head on.

The 26-year-old forward last week signed a one-year contract extension that will lead into the potential for unrestricted free agency next summer, so he's betting on his own ability. But after already overcoming a debilitating knee injury that kept him out of hockey for the 2016-17 season, this is just one more step in the climb for Janmark.

"It's a great test for him, and I think he's looking forward to it," said Stars general manager Jim Nill of the one-year deal for $2.3 million. "If he steps up and puts up the numbers, he will definitely be able to build on that and take advantage of his situation."

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What is Montgomery's biggest takeaway from first season?

The head coach sits down with DallasStars.com's Mike Heika to open up about his successful first taste of the NHL

by Mike Heika @MikeHeika / Senior Staff Writer

Jim Montgomery completed his first season as an NHL coach in 2018-19 with a 43-32-7 record. He took the Stars to Game 7 of the second round of the playoffs and learned a great deal in the process.

He sat down with DallasStars.com's Mike Heika to answer a few questions about his experiences this week:

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How might Polak's role change with Stars next season?

The defenseman is expected to be used in smaller doses, but his presence will still be a big part of the team's dynamic

by Mike Heika @MikeHeika / Senior Staff Writer

In a perfect world, Roman Polak is a sixth or seventh defenseman who plays in 50 to 60 games and averages 15 minutes a game or so.

That was the thinking when the Stars signed Polak last summer as a free agent, and it's the same thinking Dallas was using Thursday when they inked the 33-year-old defenseman to a one-year deal worth $1.75 million.

The great thing about Polak is that if the world isn't perfect, he still can help his team adjust.

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Nill wading through busy offseason 'one step at a time'

From draft preparations to free agency, summertime is quite a juggling act for the Stars general manager

by Mike Heika @MikeHeika / Senior Staff Writer

Jim Nill is always juggling something.

Some days, the Stars general manager is simply working with tennis balls or oranges. Other days, it's chainsaws and watermelons.

But there is always juggling.

Nill spent last week with his amateur scouts in Buffalo interviewing prospective draftees at the annual NHL Scouting Combine. This week, he will host the pro scouts in Frisco to get their take on players inside the organization and out.

He has signed two European free agents in defenseman Emil Djuse, 25, and forward Joel Kiviranta, 23. He has made the decision to relinquish control of Brett Davis, Liam Hawel, Jermaine Loewen and Markus Ruusu by not offering contracts by June 1.

All of it is done with much thought and reason. All of it has to fit into the big picture of running a hockey team.

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5 things you might not know about Radek Faksa

From leaving home at age 11 to becoming a first-round pick, the Stars center's path to the NHL was tough but rewarding

by Mike Heika @MikeHeika / Senior Staff Writer

Radek Faksa recently competed for his native Czech Republic at the 2019 IIHF World Championship and tallied four points (one goal, three assists) in seven games.

The Czech Republic finished fourth, losing the bronze medal game to Russia in a shootout, 3-2.

Here are five things you might not know about Radek Faksa, who just completed his fourth season with the Stars:

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Maybe Bran has a point: Are Stars exactly where they're supposed to be?

Dallas could use a dose of wisdom from the 'Game of Thrones' character as every good story takes time to develop

by Mike Heika @MikeHeika / Senior Staff Writer

Like many of you, I'm trying to unravel "Game of Thrones" in my head and sort out all of the possible meanings and character arcs.

One of the things that I keep coming back to is Bran using a similar phrase on several characters: You were exactly where you were supposed to be.

He said it to Jaime, explaining that being pushed from the tower by the Kingslayer led Bran to becoming who (or what) he now is.

He said it to Theon, explaining that all of his bad decisions brought the confused Greyjoy/Stark to his ultimate destination: "home."

He explained it to Jon Snow, in one of the final lines of the entire series that seemed to sum up a lot of what happened.

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Insider debate: Is signing Zuccarello top offseason priority for Stars?

DallasStars.com's Mike Heika, Brien Rea and Owen Newkirk tackle 5 burning questions entering the summer

by Mike Heika, Brien Rea and Owen Newkirk / DallasStars.com

Hockey season may be over in Dallas, but the discussion is just getting started. Beginning this month, we're debuting a new insider roundtable as DallasStars.com's Mike Heika, Brien Rea and Owen Newkirk tackle five burning questions about the Stars in "Take 5."

In our first edition, the guys give their thoughts on Mats Zuccarello's future in Big D, potential big-name free agents that Dallas could add, Roope Hintz's rise and more.

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Why Lindell's long-term deal with Stars is a win for both sides

Nill says the defenseman's age and performance made the six-year extension an easy decision

by Mike Heika @MikeHeika / Senior Staff Writer

Former Stars coach Lindy Ruff had one of the best descriptions of Esa Lindell when he was coaching the young defenseman back in 2016.

Asked to assess Lindell's strengths and weaknesses, Ruff paused for a second and said, "Y'know, not a lot bad stuff happens when Esa's on the ice."

That might be the quintessential description of Lindell, who signed a six-year contract Thursday with an average salary cap hit of $5.8 million. The deal, which starts next season and ends in 2025, makes Lindell the team's highest-paid defenseman, but that's more a matter of timing than anything else.

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Rookie no more, Montgomery aims to build on 'good foundation'

Stars coach believes team can take next step with knowledge gained in successful first season

by Mike Heika @MikeHeika / Senior Staff Writer

Jim Montgomery told us in September that his teams tend to get better as the season goes on.

Boy, was he right about that.

And if the Stars follow the same path as Montgomery's previous teams, they'll also get better the next season, and the season after that.

"I learned a lot," said the first-year Stars coach who will turn 50 on June 30. "Now that I'm looking back, we got better not as quickly as I'd hoped, but I liked our team at the end of the year. I liked our group, I liked our people. There was caring, there was trust. That's a good foundation for us."

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