Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The Stars' blueline stockpile

I've been toying with the idea of putting up updated lineups for all 30 teams (before I head off for vacation) because there's a ton of interesting things going on all over the league.

One team's dealings that I haven't quite been able to wrap my head around is the Dallas Stars, who picked up veteran defencemen Jaroslav Modry and Darryl Sydor the past couple weeks to give the team no fewer than eight full-time NHL blueliners.

The average number of games played last season for this group is 75, which has to be by far the highest total for a top eight anywhere in the league. At the moment, the pairings look something like this (with 2005-06 games played in brackets): Modry (79) - Boucher (66), Sydor (80) - Zubov (78), Daley (81) - Robidas (75), Niinimaa (63) - Klemm (76).

(For a contrast, by my calculation the Edmonton Oilers' current top eight defencemen averaged 41 games played last season — although that includes two skaters who didn't play a game.)

The Stars were the sixth-best team in the league defensively last season without Sydor and Modry, but you have to think GM Doug Armstrong has a trade in mind here. Given there was such a premium on defenceman during the free-agency period, one would think it wouldn't be tough to find buyers for any of these guys.

The cap isn't a huge concern in Dallas at the moment, as they have nearly a full roster signed at a reasonable figure ($38.5-million), and if a salary dump in in the cards somewhere in the east, this could definitely be a destination.

Just something to keep an eye on.

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