Kukla's Korner Hockey
FRISCO, Texas - Dallas Stars General Manager Jim Nill announced today that the club has signed defenseman Brenden Dillon to a one-year contract. Per club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Dillon, 23, recorded career-highs in almost every statistical category during the 2013-14 campaign. He finished the season with 17 points (6-11=17), including two shorthanded goals, and a plus/minus rating of +9 in 80 regular-season contests with the Stars. Dillon ranked fourth among all NHL defensemen and led all Stars skaters with a +20 rating at home this season. He also led the club with 168 hits and ranked second with 149 blocked shots.
The native of New Westminster, British Columbia made his Stanley Cup Playoffs debut, logging two shots and two penalty minutes in two postseason contests.
FRISCO, Texas - Dallas Stars General Manager Jim Nill announced today that the club has signed forward Cody Eakin to a two-year contract. Per club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
"Cody is a two-way, young forward who competes hard and has the ability to make plays offensively," said Nill. "He has just scratched the surface in terms of his development at this level and we are confident that over these next two years, we'll see him mature into an even more dependable and productive player."
from Mike Johnston of Sportsnet,
Biggest storyline to watch: Will the Jason Spezza experiment succeed, or will the Stars need to revamp next summer? Spezza becomes a UFA at the end of the 2014-15 campaign and Nill is confident he’ll sign him to an extension. Until he signs the extension, there will be a slight sense of unease. When the second-overall pick from the 2001 draft is healthy, he still has No. 1 centre ability. A one-two punch with Seguin and Spezza is outstanding on paper, and the Stars gave up too many assets for it not to work.
2014-15 bold prediction: Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, Jason Spezza and Valeri Nichushkin will each register at least 70 points as Dallas finishes third in the Central Division.
from Paul Friesen of the Winnipeg Sun,
Having suited up for his hometown Jets for parts of their first two seasons back in Winnipeg, but limited by a string of injuries, Meech tried a new adventure last fall.
He signed with Dynamo Minsk of the KHL.
“In a different scenario I would have been there all year,” Meech said. “The city of Minsk was great. Obviously there’s things you’ve got to get used to — a different country, the language barrier, all that kind of thing. But it was a great experience for us.”
The hockey was something else, too, tailor-made, you’d think, for a smallish (5-foot-11), puck-moving defenceman.
“It’s a really good league. It’s a different style of game. But very skilled players. I played against some really good teams there.
“Unfortunately I wasn’t able to stick it out the whole year there, because of my little issue.”
Twenty-three games into his season, a heart problem Meech has had, on and off, for several years flared up.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
In a league where one of the most common refrains is that it’s next to impossible to acquire top-end centers, Jim Nill picked up Tyler Seguin and Jason Spezza just over a year on the job as general manager in Dallas.
No wonder the Stars are a trendy pick ahead of this season to continue its onward climb in the tough Western Conference.
``I think Dallas is ready to take a leap in with the big boys,’’ one Eastern Conference GM told ESPN.com this week.
"It's no surprise to anyone in the Western Conference that watched Jim Nill and his staff quietly weave his Magic in Detroit ... that the same culture of excellence is evolving quickly in Dallas through solid drafting and astute trades and FA signings,’’ another rival Western Conference team executive told ESPN.com via email.
from Ian Mendes of TSN,
After the Senators missed the playoffs in the 2013-14 season, there were rumblings that Spezza was on the trade market.
General manager Bryan Murray confirmed that Spezza and his agent Rick Curran had requested a trade in May, which created a ton of media interest leading up to the NHL Draft weekend at the end up of June.
Spezza declined an opportunity to head to Nashville in a trade and says he wanted to end up in Dallas. He wishes the entire episode was kept quiet, but he harbors no ill feelings towards Murray or the Senators organization for the fact the trade request became public.
"I think obviously the goal of mine was to kind of get traded without the hoopla around it and all the conversation that went around it. The reality of it is, that was never going to happen," Spezza said. "So I just tried to stay quiet, and I talked to Bryan a few times throughout the process. I have a lot of respect for Bryan, I think he has a lot of respect for me, and unfortunately, things get kind of dragged out through the papers and the media and sometimes things get skewed, but that's the nature of the game and it was my decision to ask him to move me and I had to live with the consequences. But, I'm happy with the end result."
from Ryan Dixon of Sportsnet,
The Taylor versus Tyler drama at the 2010 draft was, really, driven more by alliteration than uncertainty. Taylor Hall may not have been a slam-dunk first-overall pick ahead of fast-rising Tyler Seguin, but by the time the Edmonton Oilers brass walked to the stage in Los Angeles, it would’ve been genuinely surprising to hear them call a name other than Hall’s.
Four years later, however, you can make cracking cases for both players as preferable to the other—which is exactly what we’re about to do.
Hall and Seguin have had different experiences through the early stages of their pro careers, Seguin having been to the Stanley Cup final twice with the Bruins, while Hall has yet to see his first playoff game in Edmonton. By the same token, both players have endured their share of hardship. Hall has faced perpetual questions about when the sad-sack Oilers will turn things around, while Seguin never blended in Boston, leading to a much-needed trade to Dallas just over 12 months ago.
Beyond similar first names, these players are linked by all-world speed and skill. But if we were to draft all over again, who would you take first?
from Katie Strang of ESPN,
"They have the pieces and the personnel, it’s just a matter of whether it will come together," said Modano, who helped bring Dallas its first Stanley Cup in 1999.
Trades for top playmaking centers like Seguin and Spezza don't come by often and they aren't easy to make, but Modano wasn't surprised Nill was able to pull it off in consecutive offseasons.
Modano, regarded as one of the best American-born centers to play the game, has known Nill for a long and knows him to be a savvy hockey mind. Nill knows the game, how to treat his players and understands the business side.
"I think it says a lot about Jim Nill. Good GMs around the league have a way of luring good players to play for their organization," said Modano, who amassed 561 goals and 1,374 points in 1,499 NHL games. "That comes with his history with the [Detroit Red] Wings, working with Kenny Holland, [Mike] Ilitch.
"You create some opportunities for individuals getting a second chance or reinventing themselves as players. He's kind of got that asset to him that he's able to do that and get them excited about being here. The stability with ownership here, that does a lot too."
“When I actually saw the Spezza trade, or heard about it, I didn’t believe it at first. I had to go online, social media these days, and see if it was confirmed. Get right on my Twitter and type it in: ‘Jason Spezza, is he here or not.”
I’m really excited, it’s made this summer even longer just cause with our new acquisitions and how good we felt we were coming together last year, you really wish it was October already.
I think everyone’s ready to go. I’ve been talking, even seeing the guys so much this summer, it’s surprising for an offseason.
In Boston, I didn’t see my teammates that often, I guess, everyone kind of does their own thing. But this summer, with the Stars, it seems like we’re always together every other week, but everyone’s excited and ready for training camp to start.”
-Tyler Seguin of the Dallas Stars. More from Seguin at the Dallas Morning News.
from Dan Rosen of NHL.com,
"When you look at how young we are with some of our talent, it will be how they manage those expectations that are going to be placed upon them," Ruff said. "There's going to be no free nights."
The good news is Dallas fared well against the Avalanche, Blues, Blackhawks and Wild in the second half last season, going 5-2-1. Overall, Dallas was 12-10-6 against the other playoff teams in the West, including 5-2-2 against the three Pacific Division qualifiers.
"Our guys know they can compete against those teams," Nill said. "That's what excites me about our group. Our dressing room is unbelievable. They play for each other and they play the right way."
Nill has given the Stars the tools by making several shrewd personnel decisions since he was hired 15-plus months ago. His focus has been on building through the middle.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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