Dallas Stars change with a capital 'C'
In this past year the Dallas Stars organization has seen almost a complete change in every facet of their twenty year history in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex. From the very top of the front office all the way down to center ice and the players and prospects that play the game that we love so much. Starting with Tom Gaglardi we have an owner that obviously wants the mindset to change in both the media, the fans, and the players and personnel. He has made changes, and has not been afraid of retaliation by fans or media. Joe Nieuwendyk was a fan favorite after being an integral part of this franchise as both a player and a GM, but the job was not getting done and Dallas stayed clear of the playoffs for long enough that the decision to part with Joe was made. To Joe and Toms credit it has been mentioned that perhaps in the future (how far away that may be we don't know) Joe may re-enter the Stars organization in a different capacity. Joes replacement is Detroit Red Wings long time assistant GM Jim Nill. Jim was the assistant in Detroit where he was involved with four Stanley Cup victories, and whose former captain, Steve Yzerman, captained the team for 19 seasons, 20 years, and over 1300 games. Obviously Jim brings with him that knowledge and history of success. Former head coach Glen Gulutzan was given his marching orders following a poor season that resulted in the Stars missing the playoffs under his tutelage for the second year running. Gulutzan was replaced by former Buffalo Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff in the Stars most recent hiring. Mid-season former Stars captain Brenden Morrow was traded to the Pittsburgh penguins in place of a prospect and a fifth round draft pick in 2013. The last few years have seen fan favorite players be traded for players, prospects, and picks. This year in fact Dallas has 10 picks in the 7 round draft in New Jersey. Those players traded have made pivotal changes to their new teams and were instrumental in Dallas' success while they were here. Michael Ryder was Dallas' leading goal scorer when he was traded to Montreal, as was Brad Richards when he was traded to New York, Mike Ribeiro led in assists for Dallas when he was traded to Washington and led Alexander Ovechkin in points for the majority of this shortened season. Jaromir Jagr was a Dallas Star for short amount of time and was also leading in points when he was traded to Boston before the trade deadline, and since Boston are playing for the Stanley cup we have received their first round pick as part of the Jagr trade, giving the Stars two picks in the first round.
Along with the front office changes of the past year and the player changes of the past few years, Dallas recently unveiled their brand new logo design, and color scheme of the future. Modeling the outfits at the recent event were Mike Modano, who after listing his Dallas home was rumored to be leaving the organization, something which obviously is far from the truth and minds of both Modano and Gaglardi by the amount of features he has done promoting the team recently. Jamie Benn was the other well known Dallas Star who was toting the victory green at the event, and alongside Modano at the pressers and promotions expressing their excitement at the new direction that Gaglardi has taken. It has taken Gaglardi a year to implement all of these major changes to the Dallas Stars franchise yet one piece of the puzzle is still missing. We have the new owner, we have the new general manager, we have the new coach, and we have the outfits. The list is complete right? Well...we still need a captain. After Brenden Morrows absence last year the team asked veteran defenseman Stephane Robidas, although an alternate captain, to act in place of Morrow during the ceremonial face-offs. Much specualtion has been made of Robidas with the youth in defense that Dallas has recently acquired, given the age of Robidas some say that a trade could be on the horizon for the feisty number three. Given the youth on defense perhaps more veterans of the league need to stay and continue to teach the Dillons, the Oleksiaks, and the Joe Morrows, we cant expect the most capped Dallas Star, Trevor Daley be the only one. That said, is Dallas considering a move for captaincy towards someone that may be in the medias eye a little more? Someone that has All-Star appearances, frequently. Maybe a Star that can lead by example and provide strength in attack, and composure in adversity. Perhaps someone younger and energetic, willing to be a part of the franchise and it's bright future for a decade to come. Does the man that sports the new outfit next to Mike Modano have those qualities? Will Jamie Benn be that leader that the Stars are now in need of? Shortly after Lindy Ruff was announced as the new head coach, Benn was quick to respond on twitter with, "We got ourselves a coach!". To find a good captain we have to know what qualifies a good captain. Does Jamie Benn have the knowledge and wisdom to lead a team into a Stanley cup and be confident of winning? The fact that he has been stride for stride with Mike Modano these few weeks during the organizations directional change shows me that they are getting him used to the media and the circus that it is, while putting him alongside THE most decorated American hockey player in history. Grooming? Perhaps.
If not Jamie Benn who else would wear the 'C' on those beautiful new victory green jerseys? Stephane Robidas was Brenden Morrows fill-in after his departure last season, but do the Stars risk naming a player whose trade value may be greater than his leadership value? Loui Eriksson was alternate captain for Dallas in past seasons and recently won a gold medal on the international stage. He is young, talented, and has been instrumental in high stake games. Trevor Daley, the Dallas Stars leader in games for the team after Brenden Morrow left last season. He is a strong defenseman, where much of the youth is on this new look team, but again, could Trevor lead this team onto the ice and then lead them in the locker room also? Brendon Dillon is another young player that has certainly grabbed the attention of the local media and his fellow teammates, but more so his adversaries. He is young, strong, and certainly leads by example, but does he have wisdom beyond his years that could bring a Stanley cup to Dallas? How do other teams thrive in their captaincy decisions? Zdeno Chara has Jaromir Jagr, Patrice Bergeron, and Tuukka Rask. Jonathan Toews has Patrick Kane, Marion Hossa, and Corey Crawford. Both teams have a stellar defense also, something that Dallas is refining. Perhaps all Jamie Benn needs is some leading men and a great goalie, protected by a refined defense.
Whatever the final decision is I am sure that the owner, GM, and coach will not be looking for a crowd pleaser. A leader that can take this team to the Stanley cup and be confident in their chance of victory, while also being the leader in the locker room. I look forward to a great captain that can wear the victory green for the next 19 seasons, 20 years, and over 1300 games!