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Razor With an Edge: Searching for Center, Man

Avenue to the Next Level Is Down the Middle

Tuesday, 07.01.2014 / 9:36 AM / Razor With An Edge
By Daryl "Razor" Reaugh
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Razor With an Edge: Searching for Center, Man
It\'s July 1 and that means it\u2019s time to fill needs, add pieces, and \"improve the club\". (Although wouldn\'t it be fantastic if a GM or two mainlined some truth serum and just bellowed, \"I\'m gutting this rancid pig\" and added, \"I mean, who are we effing kidding, we are a decade away!\")

It's July 1 and that means it’s time to fill needs, add pieces, and "improve the club". (Although wouldn't it be fantastic if a GM or two mainlined some truth serum and just bellowed, "I'm gutting this rancid pig" and added, "I mean, who are we effing kidding, we are a decade away!")

Jim Nill won't be a candidate for that. He's in building mode.

So, part of the build, and what the Stars need really, really bad (IMO), is a #2 center or even better, a 1A. This became very apparent in the playoffs this past spring.

An 18 or 19-year trip down history lane reminds one of how important that slot at center is. That mid-90s Stars club took a very large step forward when Joe Nieuwendyk arrived via trade to give them a 1, 2/bang-bang/Mo-Joe down the middle.

Back then, teams had a choice and Hitch had a choice. Check Modano and let Nieuwy run free or vice versa. Pick your poison.

Lindy would love that flexibility.

Last year's Stars team, for all its togetherness and speed and character, was essentially a roster of forwards that comprised: a top line that could hang with anyone's stuff in the league, a couple of "3rd" lines (workers, PKers, hard to play against), and a 4th line of mostly interchangeable and specialty parts. Line #2, in its various connotations, never seemed to provide the pop offensively that the slotting requires.

Cody Eakin gave everything he had in trying to fill that 2nd line center role last season but right now he's what I see as a "perfect 3rd" - a balance tipper in that spot - and he's only going to get better.

So the quest is to find a centerman to compliment the insane abilities of young, emerging superstar Tyler Seguin. And wouldn't it be something if Nill could work a deal for a center in his mid-20s so he and Seguin could grow at the same time they push each other. Think Crosby, Malkin. Or rather, dream it.

I'm sure you've heard or read the names of those available through UFA, but perhaps the better hunting grounds for THAT player is via trade. Just as it was back in 1995.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 NSH 63 41 15 7 191 151 89
2 ANA 63 39 17 7 186 176 85
3 STL 61 39 18 4 190 152 82
4 CHI 63 37 21 5 183 150 79
5 WPG 63 31 20 12 174 170 74
6 VAN 61 35 23 3 174 162 73
7 MIN 61 32 22 7 173 160 71
8 LAK 61 29 20 12 164 157 70
9 CGY 62 33 25 4 175 160 70
10 SJS 62 30 24 8 173 177 68
11 COL 62 27 24 11 166 179 65
12 DAL 62 27 25 10 195 207 64
13 ARI 62 20 35 7 137 210 47
14 EDM 62 18 34 10 142 206 46

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Benn 62 23 37 -1 60
T. Seguin 55 29 30 0 59
J. Spezza 62 15 37 -3 52
E. Cole 57 18 15 4 33
T. Daley 59 16 16 -9 32
J. Klingberg 48 10 22 2 32
C. Eakin 59 14 14 -2 28
A. Hemsky 56 9 17 -7 26
A. Goligoski 62 2 24 2 26
A. Roussel 60 12 11 -11 23
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
K. Lehtonen 25 13 10 .905 2.97
J. Enroth 13 24 2 .900 3.31
 
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