This afternoon, the Dallas Stars and Edmonton Oilers announced a trade that saw former first round draft pick (28th overall) Mark Fistric get traded to his hometown Oilers for a 3rd round pick in this summer's NHL Entry Draft.
This opens a spot for one of the highly touted defensive prospects to make the big squad full time. The general consensus is Jordie Benn and Brenden Dillon will get time in the 6th defensive slot, most likely on a line with Philip Larsen. Of course, Jamie Oleksiak is also working his way up the depth charts and rather quickly with his recent play in Cedar Park.
Much of the initial reaction I am seeing is that this move will make Dallas less physical on the blue line. On the contrary, not only will the addition of a Benn or Dillon keep the physical play at a high level, but they add a slight advantage in scoring that was lacking in Fistric's repertoire.
The timing of this move comes at a time (and eluded to in our interview with Mark) when Fistric is in the last year of his "bridge" contract. As much potential that may have been displayed from Mark, the shortened season may have had an impact on this decision. Most teams that offer players a "bridge" contract want that player to prove to the organization that they are worthy of the big payoff the following year. Only having half the games to play thanks to a 113-day lockout, the Stars felt they should get something of value for Fistric rather risk injury or sub-par performance and gain nothing this summer when Mark goes into free agency.