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 CHI 57 36 17 4 158 130 76
2 DAL 54 34 15 5 174 145 73
3 STL 56 30 17 9 133 130 69
4 LAK 52 32 17 3 144 119 67
5 SJS 52 28 20 4 149 138 60
6 ANA 52 26 19 7 117 122 59
7 NSH 54 25 21 8 139 144 58
8 COL 56 27 25 4 149 155 58
9 MIN 53 23 20 10 130 130 56
10 VAN 54 22 20 12 125 144 56
11 ARI 53 24 23 6 139 163 54
12 CGY 52 24 25 3 138 151 51
13 WPG 53 24 26 3 137 151 51
14 EDM 55 21 29 5 133 166 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Benn 54 28 33 16 61
T. Seguin 54 28 30 11 58
J. Klingberg 54 9 35 15 44
J. Spezza 52 18 22 5 40
P. Sharp 54 16 24 -1 40
A. Goligoski 54 4 20 17 24
C. Eakin 54 10 13 1 23
M. Janmark 54 10 10 13 20
J. Demers 48 7 12 16 19
V. Nichushkin 51 6 13 7 19
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Niemi 20 10 5 .908 2.52
K. Lehtonen 14 5 0 .909 2.82
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