It's become almost a rite of summer as much as playing the Edmonton Oilers in the first round of the playoffs was a rite of spring: the Dallas Stars have a middle-of-the-pack pick in the first round of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. However, unlike years before, the Stars find themselves in a position that if they have a player in mind for their first pick and they don't feel that player will be available when the 13th pick is up, they can actually present trade options to a particular team and move up the in the draft.
But what exactly would it cost to move up in a position that will most address their needs? First, the Stars need to focus on what their most glaring need is. Most drafts I have looked at lean on Dallas taking a scoring defenseman (assuming they remain in their 13th position).
Make no doubt about it, the Stars need to improve on the power play as they finished last year dead last at just over 13%. They signed blueliner, Alex Goligoski to a four-year extension and with last year's number one pick, Jamie Oleksiak seeming to be poised to make a name for himself in the pro-ranks this year, the defensive pairs will begin to improve (especially if Goose remains healthy the whole year).
Almost a year later to the day, Dallas is still being reminded that Brad Richards left Dallas for New York. Even though the experts had Dallas finishing last in the Pacific last year (and some said last in the West), the Stars were fighting for not just a playoff spot up until the last week, but they held the division lead with eight games remaining. Losing their final five games was highlighted by the power(less) play and the inability to finish with lighting the lamp.
So, perhaps it's time for the Stars to build up their top lines again after the departures of Richards and the face of the franchise, Mike Modano's retirement. You can scratch Nail Yakupov, Alex Galchenyuk and Mikhail Grigorenko off the list as I seriously doubt the Stars will be willing to pay (or even have the tools to agree) what will be required to move into the top-5. The only exception to this is if Grigorenko falls out of the top-5 and into the defensive minded teams in spots 6-10.
That leaves Radek Faksa, Teuvo Teravainen and Zemgus Girgensons as who I feel would be within range of the Star's pick and would fit into the system.
In 2009, the San Jose Sharks were also sitting at the 13th pick and traded up to the 9th pick by including the 44th pick from the 2nd round. The Stars currently hold 13th and 43rd. The Winnipeg Jets currently hold the 9th pick and are in desperate need of defense. Carolina Hurricanes are ahead in the 8th pick and will take either Faksa or Teravainen, so the Stars could take which ever forward is left and the Jets can take either Cody Ceci or Olli Maatta, so everyone wins.
Thanks to the two second-round picks, the Stars have some bargaining chips along with very young, promising defensive talent in the ranks. The one thing not to be missed is even if the Stars stand pat at 13, nine days later, the Stars along with new owner, Tom Gaglardi can afford to go after the big name unrestricted free agent. Game on, Stars fans...game on!