The Dallas Stars are in a weird spot heading into the final months of the season. With the trade deadline approaching the Stars feel like a team that needs to be active, and they seem like they will be prior to the February 25th deadline. They need help up front for sure, and they have the cap space to make a move right now. How realistic is it that they can make a big ticket acquisition that helps them now, but doesn’t hurt the franchise long term?
We have to start by acknowledging a few basic realities.
- The Stars don’t trade first round picks.
- The Stars are in a 3-way tie for the 7th seed with two teams on all of their tails.
- The Stars are paying $12,000,000 for guys who haven’t really played this year.
- The Stars need young cheap talent to fill in around Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin
If the Stars aren’t going to trade first round picks they likely aren’t going to play at the top end of the market, and they almost certainly wouldn’t for a rental without discussing an extension. It would make little sense for them long term given the need for cheap talent.
This need for cheap talent extends across the league, but for a team with two players tied up with mega deals the need is even more critical. Let us remember Ben Bishop is signed at close to five million until he’s 36. Alexander Radulov is over six million until he’s 35. This is the cost of doing business in the NHL, but they critically need cheaper talent to be good down the lineup to have sustained success.
Cheaper talent is exactly what teams are going to target in trades. Jason Dickinson, Denis Gurianov, and Jason Robertson are the type of guys teams are going to covet in return for good players. Julius Honka used to be one of those guys, but his value is almost certainly in the tank. Ditto Val Nichushkin.
If you’re the Stars the most sensible route for the near and long term is to find diamonds in the rough then hope putting them in a different environment helps. One of those types of Nichushkin himself, and given his salary a challenge type trade could make a lot of sense.
One name brought up recently is Andrei Burakovsky of the Washington Capitals. He’s going to make a reasonable salary during the 2020 season if he scores. If the Stars think he can score more with more of an opportunity to play he could make a lot of sense. Is Dallas the place that will give him that chance? Gurianov and Honka and the Stars track record of developing offensive talent would suggest no.
But, if the cost is reasonable Burakovsky is certainly worth the gamble. This is with only seven games tracked, buuuuuut check out how Burakovsky stacks up in Shot Contributions, Zone Entries, and Zone Exits per the data tracked by Corey Sznajder and visualized by CJ Turtoro.
Over several years the picture is essentially the same.
The kid can play. I don’t know if he can score, but I am fairly confident he could help the Stars generate more offense given an opportunity.
This is the type of value deal the Stars are likely going to need to look at. Trading massive pieces from the young talent pool is tempting, but long term I don’t know how good of an idea that is unless they’re acquiring long term fits under reasonable term. At the end of the day the kids need to play. Let them see what they can do. Pick up Burakovsky if the price is reasonable, but not at the expense of quality young talent capable of playing a regular shift inexpensively now.