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’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 z - DAL 82 50 23 9 267 230 109
2 x - STL 82 49 24 9 224 201 107
3 x - CHI 82 47 26 9 235 209 103
4 y - ANA 82 46 25 11 218 192 103
5 x - LAK 82 48 28 6 225 195 102
6 x - SJS 82 46 30 6 241 210 98
7 x - NSH 82 41 27 14 228 215 96
8 x - MIN 82 38 33 11 216 206 87
9 COL 82 39 39 4 216 240 82
10 ARI 82 35 39 8 209 245 78
11 WPG 82 35 39 8 215 239 78
12 CGY 82 35 40 7 231 260 77
13 VAN 82 31 38 13 191 243 75
14 EDM 82 31 43 8 203 245 70

STATS

2015-2016 PLAYOFFS
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Benn 13 5 10 2 15
J. Spezza 13 5 8 0 13
C. Eakin 13 1 7 -4 8
A. Goligoski 13 4 3 -6 7
P. Sharp 13 4 2 -4 6
P. Eaves 9 3 3 3 6
R. Faksa 13 3 2 2 5
M. Janmark 12 2 3 -3 5
C. Sceviour 11 2 3 1 5
J. Klingberg 13 1 3 -5 4
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
K. Lehtonen 6 3 0 .899 2.81
A. Niemi 1 3 2 .865 3.29
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