Razor With an Edge: Searching for Center, Man

Avenue to the Next Level Is Down the Middle

Tuesday, 07.1.2014 / 8:36 AM CT / 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 x - ANA 77 48 22 7 225 215 103
2 x - NSH 76 47 21 8 218 183 102
3 STL 74 46 21 7 226 182 99
4 CHI 74 44 24 6 209 172 94
5 MIN 75 43 25 7 215 185 93
6 VAN 74 43 27 4 212 199 90
7 WPG 75 39 24 12 212 197 90
8 LAK 74 37 23 14 199 184 88
9 CGY 75 40 28 7 219 199 87
10 SJS 75 37 30 8 210 212 82
11 DAL 75 36 29 10 232 240 82
12 COL 74 34 28 12 200 206 80
13 EDM 75 22 40 13 181 254 57
14 ARI 76 23 45 8 160 252 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Benn 75 27 44 -6 71
T. Seguin 65 33 34 -3 67
J. Spezza 75 16 40 -4 56
J. Klingberg 58 10 27 5 37
C. Eakin 71 17 17 -4 34
A. Goligoski 75 4 30 -1 34
T. Daley 61 16 17 -10 33
A. Hemsky 69 11 21 -7 32
S. Horcoff 71 11 17 7 28
V. Fiddler 73 12 14 -5 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
K. Lehtonen 33 15 10 .907 2.84
J. Enroth 14 26 2 .900 3.28
 
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