STARS MAILBAG: Are the Stars really considering trading the No. 3 pick?

I’m going to open this mailbag with a quick reminder to fill out the reader survey I posted earlier this week.

It helps me monitor and adjust this site to best fit the needs and wants of its readership. I’ve already made some notes and taken ideas from readers that I’ll be utilizing sooner than later.

Let’s get started…

If the third overall pick is moved, and Jim Nill has made it clear he’s open to doing so, I think it’s part of a deal for a roster player. It may not be a one-for-one deal, but it could be part of a larger package that helps the Stars land a position of need.

And it’s a long list of potential trade partners. It really is a wide-open draft after the first two picks and if a team has a specific player in mind that they want after Nolan Patrick and Nico Hischier, the Stars No. 3 pick would be the ideal way to make that selection.

Yes, there is serious consideration about moving the No. 3 pick. And I believe Nill is using public comments and the media to create better market for the No. 3 pick.

If there is a perception and demand for that pick, the cost could rise and the Stars could benefit.

If Dallas can’t find the right return, they’ll still be in a good spot and just make a selection at No. 3.

At this moment I don’t think Nill has initiated calls about any specific players, rather conversations have started about the No. 3 pick and Nill has put out feelers to figure out who might be available.

I think Nill will start to get aggressive with trade offers around the end of May and start looking for a right wing or defenseman as part of a package deal for the No. 3 pick.

Antoine Roussel was a potential trade chip before his showing at the IIHF World Championships.

A hard offer never came across the table, but there were conversations during this past season from other teams about Roussel. He could have been a nice addition to a team in the playoff picture and I know one Eastern Conference team in particular was close to making an offer.

Roussel’s showing at the World Championships have only made him more valuable on the open market, if the Stars wanted to trade him.

Ultimately I think Dallas holds onto the French forward and tries to move Cody Eakin via trade before the expansion draft.

Worth monitoring, but not worth holding your breath over.

Miro Heiskanen could be the better long-term player and I believe he could turn into a top-pairing defender in the NHL at some point.

Noah Hanifin, however, would make the Stars a better team next season and could be a key cog in a dynamic defense on the left side. He’s only 20 and has already played 160 career NHL games, and I think he could take major strides under Ken Hitchcock.

If you could get Carolina to accept a straight-up trade for Hanifin for the No. 3 pick I would pull the trigger. It would be a move that would help the Stars immediately and in the future, since Hanifin is only going to get better as he progresses in his career.

This is what most likely will happen. The Stars will try to trade Antti Niemi, but I don’t see much value on the open market and they’ll likely be forced to buy him out in mid June.

I’ve seen this idea floated around and I’m not a fan of it.

It’s a deal that heavily favors Vegas and I would rather buy out both Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi rather than make this trade.

I would keep all options open, but I think Lehtonen could actually play well in a back-up role next season. He’d be playing in lower-pressure situations and wouldn’t be asked to play in those high-stress, big-game moments that have been an issue in the past.

Joonas Korpisalo has a nice future as an NHL goalie and could be a good fit in Dallas with Ben Bishop.

The issue that I run into with that is the timeframe of Bishop’s contract and making sense of the deal long-term.

Korpisalo will be 29 when Bishop’s six-year contract expires and Korpisalo will want a starting job before that time. While it could be a good one-two punch this season, Dallas could be setting itself up to lose Korpisalo in free agency in a couple years.

Valeri Nichushkin would likely be looking for something in the $1.5 to $2 million dollar range if he was to return to the NHL this summer. The Stars would obviously like to be on the lower end of that spectrum and Nichushkin hasn’t earned that large of an NHL contract in my mind.

Also, I just don’t see a fit for Patrick Sharp to be back with Dallas next season.

I can’t convince you of that. Personally I would have made the deal for Scott Darling, it was shrewd and effective move by the Carolina Hurricanes.

However, there are a couple other factors we have to consider. Darling isn’t a proven starter, while I believe he’ll be an elite NHL goalie with Carolina, there isn’t any hard proof he’ll turn into the goalie many think he’ll become.

His numbers were great in Chicago, but he played primarily in low-pressure situations and being the back-up is much easier than being No. 1.

Bishop’s number’s last season took a dip, but he is a proven starter and I think he could still play at an elite level for two or three years.

Ultimately that’s why Jim Nill made this move. The Stars believe, rightfully, they are just a couple moves and a better defensive system away from being a contender in the Western Conference. They are closer to that status with Bishop and will have to deal with the long-term contract consequences in three or four years.

There is also the cost factor. The Hurricanes acquired Darling’s rights for a third-round pick in a trade that sent a potential No. 1 goalie to the other conference. The Blackhawks and Stars have been trade partners before, but I would imagine Chicago would try and squeeze a bit more out of a Central Division rival.

I would pick Miro Heiskanen. Dallas is playing things close to the vest so it’s hard to predict right now, but that’s who I would select.

I don’t think the Stars will be in on Kevin Shattenkirk. I think Shattenkirk wants to be a No. 1 defenseman somewhere and the Stars are committed to grooming John Klingberg into that player on the right side.

I think they will take a look at unrestricted free agent defensemen Karl Alzner and Brendan Smith. Both are defensively-sound defenseman and could help Stephen Johns to form a reliable and physical third pairing.

You are on the right track to look at defensive-minded defensemen.

Players like Smith and Alzner could help hide some of the defensive deficiencies of the Stars other defensemen. For example, I think Julius Honka would be paired well with Dan Hamhuis, it would be a good combination of creative freelancing from Honka and reliable positioning from the veteran.

There are too many moving parts right now, especially with Jim Nill basically broadcasting that he expects player movement in early June.

However, to take a shot in the dark, you could see something like this on opening night.

Benn-Seguin-Radulov
Janmark-Spezza-Shore
Roussel-Faksa-Ritchie
McKenzie-Dickinson-Cracknell

Lindell-Klingberg
Hamhuis-Honka
Smith-Johns

Bishop

(Yes, this will be wrong. But you asked for a guess.)

The Stars are looking at individuals with past ties to Hitchcock. I know one of Hitchcock’s former players has been approached about coaching in Dallas, but he has opted to stay in his current position.

For names, let’s take a look at the next question…

One key to the success of the Ken Hitchcock hiring is having assistants that can handle Hitch.

Working with Hitchcock isn’t easy. He’s difficult and pushes players, but he also wants his assistant coaches to fight him and defend their opinions. You have to understand who calls the shots, while juggling standing up for yourself at the same time.

Rick Wilson has experience with that, and that experience would be valuable for the coaching staff.

On Curt Fraser, he’s still in the conversation to be an assistant coach.

I don’t know if that’s the smartest decision and I know Fraser receives ample vitriol from fans. But for argument’s sake, I’m going to make the case for Fraser.

(Please note this isn’t my opinion. I’m simply playing devil’s advocate.)

Fraser is a good offensive coach. He’s one of the forefathers of the power play drop pass entry and it’s become an effective tool for several NHL teams. The biggest issues isn’t the drop pass, it’s the overuse of the drop pass. Opponents started adjusting to the drop pass and Dallas didn’t make any adjustments.

With adjustments it could become an effective weapon again. If other teams have another entry to defend, the drop pass becomes much more effective. And maybe, while working with a head coach that believes in in-game adjustments, Fraser’s system would work well for the Stars next season.

I like Patrik Nemeth, but I don’t see how he can be part of this team next season. His relationship with the old coaching staff soured and management never stepped in to alleviate the situation.

It may be time for Nemeth and the Stars to part ways, it could be what’s best for all parties involved.

Tyler Seguin.

I don’t mind that in theory, but I don’t like the cost ($7.8 million) that Nash would bring against the salary cap and handcuff other potential moves.

It isn’t one thing, rather it’s a group of people.

From the minute I got the NHL beat in Dallas I was welcomed and accepted by the media contingency. Mike Heika and Mark Stepneski have been great sounding boards and it’s a duo that I’m happy to share a press box with.

Having familiarity with the players went a long way. Many of them graduated from the AHL and the Texas Stars, so in a way it just felt like I was on the same beat but in a different location.

I also have to thank my readership. The reader interaction is one of my favorite parts of the job and this mailbag is one of my favorite weekly projects.

What do I miss most about the greater Austin area?

For a while it was access to good paddle boarding spot. But I may have remedied that after I found the lakefront access at Lake Lewisville in Little Elm.

Trailer Park taco, get it trashy.

Depends on what I’m getting at the grocery store.

I don’t know about the pet situation in the Bishop household. I’ll make sure to ask at an appropriate time.

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