Much like last year's blockbuster deal that brought Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley to the Dallas Stars, GM Jim Nill made an astonishing move, trading F Alex Chiasson, Prospects F Nick Paul & F Alex Guptill, along with a 2015 2nd round draft pick to the Ottawa Senators for F Jason Spezza and F Ludwig Karlsson.
Spezza spent 11 years with the Senators, and was named the team captain in September 2013 after the departure of Daniel Alfredsson to Detroit. Spezza, 31, finished the 2013-14 season with 66 points (23G-43G) in 75 games, Spezza has amassed 687 points (251G-436A) in his NHL career, which has seen him pass the 65 points plateau 6 times.
2014-15 Expectations: Jason Spezza will make an exceptional 2nd line center with his strong play on both sides of the ice, Spezza will also mightily improve the Stars power play, after leading the Senators in PP goals with nine. Spezza will be a go-to faceoff taker as well, after ranking 19th in faceoff percentage in the NHL last year, winning 54.0% percent of his draws.
Ludwig Karlsson also joins the Dallas Stars in this transaction, the 6 ft 3 inch, 200 pound Sweden native, was originally signed by the Senators as an undrafted free agent in July 2013, playing most of the season with Elmira of the ECHL, in which the Northern University alum tallied 24 points (11G-13A) in 39 games played.
2014-15 Expectations: Karlsson will likely begin the season with the Texas Stars (AHL) but the the inevitable mid-season injuries, a call-up to Dallas is a possibility.
Other free agent signings include another former Senators forward, Ales Hemsky. The 31 year old Czech recorded 43 points (13G-31A) in 75 games last season with both the Edmonton Oilers & the aforementioned Ottawa Senators, Jim Nill says, "Ales Hemsky is an accomplished forward who has great hands and great finish, his right-shot will complement our forward group and provide balance in our lineup"
2014-15 Expectations: Ales Hemsky will more then likely be put on the 2nd line with newly acquired F Jason Spezza, and possibly make an appearance on the Stars power play.
The Stars also obtained the ever so necessary backup to Kari Lehtonen after the signing of Tampa Bay Lightning G Anders Lindback. The backup to Ben Bishop in Tampa last season scored an 8-12-2 record in 23 games last season. the 26 year old was originally drafted by the Nashville Predators in 2008, and has since recorded a 904% SV percentage in his 83 career starts.
2014-15 Expectations: to really sum it up, Kari Lehtonen lead the league in minutes played last season out of all players. showing the lack of reliable backup goaltending. Lindback's will be to prevent just this, and give Kari the amount of rest he truly deserves.
The last move of the day from Jim Nill was the signing of F Patrick Eaves, who began last season with the Detroit Red Wings until being traded over to Nashville where he scored a total of 5 points (2G-3A). it was not the offensive capabilities of Eaves that intrigued Nill, but his speed and versatility, which will add immediate depth to the Stars forward corps.
2014-15 Expectations: Patrick Eaves appeared in just 35 games combined with Nashville and Detroit, so naturally my expectations would be low, but Eaves's up-tempo, disciplined style of gameplay fits really well with the Dallas Stars offensive system, look for a breakout year from Eaves.