After much debate and speculation the Dallas Stars opted not to make a move at the trade deadline.
Perhaps a couple of moves in the days and weeks leading up to the deadline changed the perspective of the team. Steve Ott was a name rumored to be on the move, but earlier this week he was signed to a contract extension ending any chance of that. Add to that the deal that brought Kari Lehtonen over from the Thrashers before the Olympic break, and the team felt it had already done enough tinkering to the lineup.
Many felt Marty Turco’s days were numbered with the acquisition of Lehtonen, but ultimately, his large contract didn’t attract much attention for a player who was most likely going to be a rental. Also, with Alex Auld recently being claimed by the Rangers off re-entry waivers, this left the Stars with two goalies again. Being just a couple of points from a playoff spot, it didn’t make sense for the Stars to get rid of a veteran goalie.
With just 20 games left in the season, the playoffs are still well within reach. The problem, however, is that there seems to be at least a half dozen teams fighting for two spots.
Unfortunately, the Olympic break may have hurt the Stars more than anyone, as they were playing their best hockey when it hit. Gaining five out of a possible six points on a three-game road trip against Chicago, Calgary and Phoenix had the makings of a good run.
The Stars will probably have to play at least .600 hockey to have a chance, and efforts like Tuesday’s performance against the Kings will have to be few and far between. They will have to regroup quickly and find some consistency as they will be playing almost every second night the rest of the way.