It took one week for Jim Nill to put his stamp on the team. One week for him to completely overhaul the organization and bring some real excitement to the team. Stars fans are well aware of the two trades yesterday, so I won’t go into the details too much here.
Some thoughts on what Dallas lost first. It’s going to be tough not having Loui Eriksson around here next year. He’s been a staple on the team, a soft spoken fan favorite who worked tirelessly on both sides of the ice. His two-way play is going to be missed around here.
Reilly Smith and Matt Fraser were very nice prospects in the system, but they just couldn’t break through. With Brett Ritchie, Alex Chiasson and now Valeri Nichushkin in the system, they would have found it difficult break into the top six forwards on the team, especially now that Jamie Benn is back at wing. They may have been useful in the bottom six, but if the price for Seguin is Fraser and Smith, that has to be done.
Joe Morrow was here for a short time and doesn’t seem to have made the impression the Stars were hoping he would. He’s a nice defensive prospect, but Dallas has so many of them now and can afford to send come chips away.
Philip Larsen was an alright player with the Stars, but his time seemed to be waning here. Jamie Oleksiak and Kevin Connauton are expected to see time with Dallas next year with the already established veteran group, so Larsen was out of the fold.
Now onto the guys coming to Dallas.
First off, a little bit about young Tyler Seguin. The 21-year-old is one of the most promising young centers in the entire league. The only reason he became available was due to some off-ice issues and his low scoring playoff run this season. He became persona non grata in Boston, and GM Peter Chiarelli called him out on it this past week. The public perception in Boston about the kid took a complete turn.
Chiarelli seems to forget that Seguin is just 21. You can’t expect every 21-year-old kid with millions in his bank account to have the maturity level of a Ray Whitney. As for his playoff struggles, Seguin had 70 shots on goal in the playoffs, tied for fifth-most in the league. He had only one goal and compiled a shooting percentage of a whopping 1.4 percent, nine points below his career average. You know what that amounts to? An amazing amount of bad luck in the playoffs. He was like Reilly Smith in the regular season last year times 10. He’s still as dangerous as ever.
Two and half seasons seemed enough for the Boston organization though, and the Stars are all the better because of it.
In terms of impact on the Stars, his addition here pretty much changes the entire culture of the team. He immediately slides into the No. 1 center role on the team. You have to remember that Seguin played out of position at wing with the Bruins during his career, mostly alongside Nathan Horton and Patrice Bergeron. He’s a natural center, something he’ll be here in Dallas.
Likewise, his addition also allows Jamie Benn to move back to his natural wing position. Benn looked out of place at center this past season, and it’s obvious he needed to move back to win. Watching a playmaking duo of Benn and Seguin (with Whitney possibly thrown in this season and Nichushkin soon enough) for the next decade is going to be a sight to see.
The biggest loss from Eriksson to Seguin is going to be on the defensive side of the ice. Seguin doesn’t work the penalty kill and won’t start his shifts in the defensive zone. It’s all about the offense right now with him. He’s going to be a huge cog in the power play. Lindy Ruff might eventually get him to be an alright two-way center, but that’ll take time.
Getting Peverley in addition to Seguin works perfectly for the Stars. Peverley will do everything Seguin doesn’t.
During his time in Boston, he was one of the main parts of the penalty kill. Last year, he had the third-most shorthanded minutes among forwards on the team. He had roughly 89 minutes of SH TOI, 11 more minutes than Loui Eriksson had last season.
He’s also excellent in the faceoff dot, winning 58, 61 and 58 percent of his faceoffs, respectively, in the past three seasons. That’s better than anything Dallas has had in a while. He was counted on in the defensive zone, and he’ll be option No. 1 for Dallas in the D-zone this upcoming year. Everything Eriksson did on the defensive end for Dallas, Perverley will do as well.
He’s also consistent on offense. He can usually be counted on for 30-40 points per year. He should do well centering a couple of hard working players in Cole and Chiasson.
In a rather unexpected deal, Dallas traded away Philip Larsen and a 2016 (2016!) seventh-round pick for the 34-year-old Horcoff.
Like Peverley, Horcoff is a puck possession guy. His career faceoff percentage is a tick below 50 percent, and he was the top option as a defensive forward for the Oilers.
He took a majority of the defensive zone shifts and led the forwards on the team in SH TOI two years ago. He was fourth last year, mostly because he missed 17 games due to injuries. He won’t give much on the offensive end of the ice, but that’s not what Dallas was looking for.
Horcoff should be the man running the third line next year for Dallas. He’s a nice piece to add to this revamped center corps for the Stars.
Button was a throw-in chip in the trade with Boston. Nothing much should be expected for the defenseman. He was in the ECHL last year for Boston and will probably do the same for the Stars organization.
Overall, July 4 was an amazing day for the Stars. They totally redid their center depth through trades, something I don’t think I’ve ever seen before, without giving up their best trade pieces in Chiasson, Ritchie and Jack Campbell.
Their eventual top line of Benn-Seguin-Nichushkin is already in place and the future centers on the team, Cody Eakin and Radek Faksa, can take their time to fully develop their games without too much pressure on them. Jim Nill put together a masterpiece yesterday, and Stars fans should be stoked about the future of this team.