If there’s a team whose impact on the trade deadline greatly depends on what happens in the next four weeks, it screams Dallas Stars.
Are they in? Are they out?
The answer to that question could change a lot and change the trade deadline for several teams, not just Dallas.
There are clubs waiting to see what the Stars do.
“It’s going to be the performance of our team which dictates which way we go,” veteran Stars GM Jim Nill told The Athletic on Sunday afternoon. “I’ve talked to everybody (other teams). We’ve had our pro meetings. We’re in a position where we can add if we look pretty good, or we can stay status quo, or if it looks like we’re dropping out of it, we can make some decisions from there.’’
In many ways, they’re not just battling for a wild-card spot in the playoffs, they’re a wild card for the deadline itself.
They’re the action team in many ways.
They could sell some pretty big names if they’re out. They could be buyers if they’re in.
Watch out for the Stars, either way.
“We’ve got some major players depending on the situation,’’ agreed Nill. “Like I said, we’ve gone through all the scenarios (internally). My mindset right now is that we’re going to make the playoffs, that’s where the team is at. We’ll go from there.’’
People around the league were mystified by the Stars for the longest time this season, Covid and cancellations and injuries wreaked havoc plus some early season inconsistent play.
But the Stars have re-inserted themselves in the Western Conference wild-card race, three points behind the No. 2 wild-card spot held by Los Angeles on Monday morning with a game in hand and four points behind the Predators, who hold the No. 1 wild-card spot, also with a game in hand.
“We’re getting caught up now in terms of games played, we’re back in the race,” Nill said prior to the Arizona game. “The team has played well, the guys have responded well. We’re going to monitor it week by week here. The West is wide-open. It’s not set at all. We’re just going to play the games and see where we stand.’’
Here’s why the Stars simply have to play through the next 3-4 weeks before deciding their deadline game plan: after winning four of five including big wins over Nashville and Colorado, the Stars dropped a 3-1 game in Arizona to the last-place Coyotes on Sunday night.