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LM Otero/Associated Press
The Dallas Stars’ bid for the 2022 Stanley Cup came to an end in Sunday’s Game 7 loss to the Calgary Flames.
Dallas fought until the final days of the regular season to earn a berth in the NHL playoff field, fending off the star-studded Vegas Golden Knights for one of the wild card spots in the NHL Conference. the West. He missed the playoffs in 2020-21.
The Stars had already reached the 2020 Stanley Cup Finals before falling to the Tampa Bay Lightning. The franchise’s only championship was in 1999.
With an aging core, it will be interesting to see how aggressive the team’s front office is in the offseason with the goal of trying to make another title in the next few years.
Let’s take a look at the Stars’ summer prospects following their playoff elimination.
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LM Otero/Associated Press
Unrestricted Free Agents
- F Alexander Radulov
- Michael Raffl
- F Vladislav Namestnikov
- F Blake Comeau
- Dr. John Klingberg
- Dr Andrej Sekera
- Dr. Alex Petrovic
- Braden Holtby
- G. Scott Wedgewood
Restricted Free Agents
- F Denis Gourianov
- F Fredrik Karlstrom
- F Jason Robertson
- F Marian Studenic
- F Riley Tufte
- Jake Oettinger
The Stars don’t plan on becoming a major player in the free agent market, as the majority of their available salary cap space will be used to retain their own talent.
It starts with figuring out what kind of deal to give winger Jason Robertson, who has 125 points in 128 career games. While a short-term bridge deal is an option, Dallas will likely do everything in their power to lock the 22-year-old in for the long haul with a lucrative extension.
Jake Oettinger, 23, is also in line for a big raise after grabbing the starting position between the pipes with a .914 save percentage in 48 appearances.
The toughest call will be John Klingberg, who will generate great interest if he makes it to the open market. His 374 points over the past eight seasons rank him eighth among all NHL defensemen. The Stars would like to keep the 29-year-old, but it may be difficult to make him work financially.
After all of the re-signings are complete, Dallas’ free agent pursuits should surround players who could fill the bottom end of the roster or provide depth in the minor leagues.
A marquee signing is unlikely as things stand. In turn, all successful acquisitions are more likely to occur through a cash-neutral transaction.
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Mike Mulholland/Getty Images
The Stars were already presenting a pretty well-rounded prospect group, but one area that could benefit from a deep boost is right-handed defensemen.
Here are some names Dallas could target in Round 1 of the 2022 NHL Draft on July 7:
Seamus Casey, RHD, University of Michigan (NCAA)
Seamus Casey is a product of the United States National Development Team about to join Michigan’s mighty program. It combines impressive top-end speed with small-area quickness that allows it to easily get into the race. He’s more of a playmaker at this point with a shot still in development.
The main knock against the 18-year-old Florida native is his height (5’10”, 162 lbs). He will definitely need to add a bit more weight during his time with the Wolverines, and that would come in handy if he likes another growth spurt to reach the six-foot mark.
Casey’s offensive skills create more reward potential than any risk associated with his lack of an ideal frame at this stage of development. He had 33 points (five goals and 28 assists) in 47 games with the USNDT and should enjoy two or three years with the Wolverines.
Ryan Chesley, RHD, University of Minnesota (NCAA)
Ryan Chesley, another USNDT standout, is more advanced in his physical development (6’0″, 195lbs) and has shown impressive defensive ability, both in terms of protecting the net and starting breakouts That gives him a high floor as a prospect on the fast track to the NHL.
What the 18-year-old has lacked so far is vision in the attacking zone. He has bagged just 18 assists in 53 appearances for the national development team. This is the area where he will want to show steady improvement when he joins the Minnesota Golden Gophers.
Chesley has no plans to become an elite offensive producer, but even modest growth in that area coupled with his defensive skills could make him a second pair defender for a long time. He could be ready as early as 2023, though an extra college season beyond that wouldn’t hurt.
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Michael Ainsworth/Associated Press
The Stars are in a promising position on all fronts. They’ve reached the playoffs this season, they’ll return nearly all of their top contributors for next season, and their farming system was ranked 10th in the NHL by The Athletic in February.
Still, the question is how to thread the needle to end their 23-year drought.
Given that Dallas likely won’t have the financial resources to chase down a top free agent once their own re-signings are complete, making a real game-changer would likely come at the expense of at least some of their tops. of range. prospects in a profession.
It doesn’t come without risk, however. If GM Jim Nill makes that kind of decision and doesn’t deliver a Stanley Cup in the next few years, the questioning will begin, especially if those prospects turn into major contributors elsewhere.
Of course, Nill would also face criticism if he decided to sit patiently to hold on to those top prospects only to see the team take a step back next season and miss the playoffs. That’s the life of a GM.
The bigger picture makes the Stars one of the most fascinating teams to watch this summer. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the team linked with a potential trade for a top-six striker.
All told, it won’t be a championship or a bust for Dallas in 2022-23, but anything less than another playoff appearance with a realistic shot to make a Cup run would be a disappointment.