[Ed. note: Hey, everybody! Remember us? Conference III. We're the guys who make historical analogies about hockey and then disappear in the middle of the playoffs. We didn't go anywhere. We're back. With free agency beginning in a few hours, our very own Obscene Alex is here to set us up.]
Dear Top Free Agent and Trade Candidate Class of 2014,
You may have heard the Dallas Stars are looking for a second line center and maybe a wing. You may have even heard we are in search of a number one defenseman… or that we’re not. We seem to be playing coy about that, but if the right opportunity presented itself…Anyway, you might be aware that Dallas used to be a premiere free agent destination. Players like Ed Belfour, Brett Hull, and Bill Guerin chose to sign with the Stars in their heyday. Dallas was also able to retain a strong veteran core of players they developed or traded for with ease, driving continued success in the years leading up to and following their Stanley Cup in 1999.
You might also know that more recently, a lack of homegrown talent due to relying too heavily on buying talent through trades and free agency, a marketplace reshaped by lockouts and a salary cap, and a bankrupt owner led the team into dark times. The past five seasons of playoff-less hockey left fans wistfully remembering 1999, 2000, 2008 and eventually, even years where the Stars were one and done.
However, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve noticed the changes – a new owner, new GM, new coach, new system, new uniforms, and a shiny new Tyler Seguin – that propelled Dallas back into a playoff spot. A new focus on the value of the draft to ensure that success is built upon has led to a top 10 prospect pipeline and a Calder Cup. A brand spankin’ new Val Nichushkin and a Jamie Benn newly invigorated by a return to the wing alongside Seguin will look to push the team over the top from bubble team to contender in the coming seasons. That word you keep hearing is the key – NEW NEW NEW NEW NEW NEW. Things are changing in Dallas. The Stars are on an upward trajectory.