It seems that recently I have been getting asked more and more about the "aging" Dallas Stars, and in particular, there off-season acquisitions of Jagr and Whitney. Many fans are concerned that the franchise would trade the talent of Ott and Ribeiro, for the experienced Jagr and Whitney. "Aren't they supposed to be getting younger?", "Is there an age requirement to play in Dallas?". Although the Dallas Stars have signed two of the oldest active players in the NHL, the talent that they have on the horizon is spectacularly talented for their age. Last year we were able to witness the talent of Reilly Smith, 21, Brendon Dillon, 21, and Phillip Larsen, 22. With 18 year Radek Faksa just drafted, we will surely see him come through Dallas in a year or two along wiith the 6'7" 240lb beast Jamie Oleksiak, 19, possibly lacing up this year for the Stars.
The roster that the Stars had posted for the 2010-2011 season, under Marc Crawford, had an average age of 27, and this year thus far the posted roster has an average age of, you guessed it, 27. So although it may seem as though the Dallas Stars are getting old from the big signings that take up much of the media, they are in fact bringing up younger talented players. A perfect example of players that get overlooked is former Washington Capital and 21 year old, Cody Eakin. He was the player that Dallas traded for 32 year old Mike Ribeiro. Although Cody may not currently have the numbers to rival Ribeiro he certainly has the talent to get there, but unfortunately the loss of talent in Ribeiro overshadowed the gain in talent with Eakin. This year may also bring us the NHL debut of Austin Smith, 23, who was a finalist for the Hobey Baker award with Colgate University.
We have to remember that Jamie Benn is still only 22 years of age, and was the winner of the skills challenge at the all-star game this year. Louis Eriksson, a certain top 6 forward, and an all-star during the 2010-2011 season is only 26. Tomas Vincour, a staple part of the Stars last season, is only 21. I could go on and on, Tom Wandell, Alex Goligoski, Trevor Daley, Kari Lehtonen, Derek Roy, Eric Nystrom, all these players haven't yet reached 30, and some are only 25. This is the peak of their playing careers and we are lucky enough to have them play for Dallas.
Most can understand that Dallas Stars fans have reason to be concerned for their future after missing the playoffs for the fourth straight year. However, the change that has come this off-season (the first under Tom Gagliardi's ownership), shows that the front office not only wants experienced players that can lead, but that there younger generation of Dallas Stars will be learning from some of the greatest players to have played the game. An inspiration to the young, and not so young. The signings of Jagr, and Whitney will gear the Dallas Stars for success now, and in the future.