On February 23, 2019, the Dallas Stars made a couple of trades to help improve the team.
The first deal happened in the morning, when Dallas traded defenseman Connor Carrick and a 2019 3rd round pick to the New Jersey Devils for forward Ben Lovejoy. When I first saw it I thought to myself “What is Jim Nill doing”. He is a good penalty killer but that’s not what Dallas needs, and I believe the Stars overpaid as that is a steep price for a rental. Carrick is young (24 years old), has great potential and upside, whereas Lovejoy is 35 years old.
Per Jim Montgomery, Carrick was not in the Stars plans long-term as he only played 2 shifts in 2 months. It was then that I asked myself “If that is the case why did we get him from Toronto to begin with”. In New Jersey, Lovejoy had just 2 goals and 5 assists for 7 points and a plus/minus of 2 in 52 games. Hopefully his numbers improve with Dallas.
Later that day just hours after the game against Carolina, Dallas made another deal, this time for the top 6 forward Dallas desperately needed, Mats Zuccarello, in exchange for two conditional draft picks. I thought that was a way better deal then the one they made in the morning. The picks were a conditional 2019 2nd round and a 2020 3rd round. The terms for the picks are as follows.
The second round pick becomes a first if Dallas reaches the Western Conference Finals in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The third round pick becomes a first if Dallas re-signs Zuccarello in the off-season.
It is also worth noting that New York retained 30% of his salary.
Now although this could be a steep price to pay as Dallas could end up giving away two first round picks, I don’t believe Dallas can go three rounds deep, but as we all know, anything can happen in playoffs. Giving up one first round pick seems likely, as I can see Dallas re-signing Zuccarello in the off season. In 47 games with New York, Zuccarello has 12 goals and 27 assists for 39 points and a plus/minus of -8.
Both players made their debut in Victory Green today against Chicago. Quickly I saw that Mats was the help that Dallas had been searching for. He got his first point as a Star on an assist on a sweet lead pass to Radek Faksa. He followed that up with his first goal as a Star assisted by Tyler Seguin and Esa Lindell.
However, the trade could be costly for Dallas as Zuccarello took a puck to the hand trying to block a shot late in the first period. The word is he will go back to Dallas for evaluation and could miss up to 4 weeks. I hope that isn’t the case and he can return sooner. I’m also intrigued how the deals will pay off long-term.
My take on the deals is that the Stars needed a player like Zuccarello and it showed in the game against Chicago. I feel it’s a good deal as I think the Stars could only give up one first rounder. As far as the Lovejoy deal is concerned, I feel that the Stars overpaid and that New Jersey got the better end of the deal. Carrick has great upside and potential, whereas Lovejoy is old and could be just a rental. I really hope both players work out in Dallas and help the team make a playoff push.
stats from hockey-reference.com, NHL.com
featured image photo credit – Nikos Michals