Gaglardi Excited About Summer Moves, Upcoming Season

Tuesday, 08.19.2014 / 1:56 PM CT / Inside Edge
By Mark Stepneski
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Gaglardi Excited About Summer Moves, Upcoming Season

Owner Tom Gaglardi was quick with some humor when asked about the job GM Jim Nill did this offseason with the Dallas Stars’ roster.

“He’s a good listener. I told him to do all those things,” Gaglardi said. “He did what I asked him to do.”

And then he added: “What can I say? It’s marvelous what he has done.”

Those moves by Nill included trading for center Jason Spezza and signing right wing Ales Hemsky, two highly skilled offensive players who will join Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin in the Stars’ top six forwards.

“I look at our club and who we have added to our top six in terms of Hemsky and Spezza and you can get pretty excited pretty quickly,” said Gaglardi. “You hear [Spezza’s] name – he’s an amazing player – and then you realize he is going to be playing for the Dallas Stars. … Ales Hemsky is a heck of a player.”

With the trade for Spezza and last summer’s deal for Seguin, Nill turned what had been a weakness at the center position into a strength. What Gaglardi had seen as a major concern when he bought the team in November 2011, Nill fixed in a little more than a year on the job.

“I was very concerned about that position. I never thought we were strong up the middle,” said Gaglardi. “It’s a tough thing to fix. There are clubs in the NHL that have had that problem and haven’t found a way to fix it. Now, you have to blink hard a couple times to say that your top two centermen are Jason Spezza and Tyler Seguin.

“Obviously goaltending and defense are important, but you can’t win without being strong at center. You look at our center position now and we’ve got five accomplished centermen in Tyler, Jason, Cody Eakin, Vern Fiddler and Shawn Horcoff. We’re deep at center. It’s an important position and I don’t think you can win without being strong in that position.”

As excited as Gaglardi is about the Spezza deal and the Stars’ look at center, he is equally excited about the signing of Hemsky, who put up 17 points in 20 games playing with Spezza after being traded to Ottawa from Edmonton last season.

“I hear nothing but great things about his commitment, desire to win and work ethic,” Gaglardi said of Hemsky. “Being a Canadian, I’ve watched him play plenty of times with the Oilers. He’s kind of a forgotten guy to me, people don’t seem to want to talk about him, and they focus on everyone else. I am as excited about Hemsky as I am anything.”

Hemsky and Spezza give a new look to the Stars’ top six forwards, but the Dallas owner likes the depth throughout the forward group.

“At forward, we are as deep as any team in the league with the addition of those two guys and our bottom six is strong,” Gaglardi said. “With all respect to Tyler and Jamie – without those guys we don’t win – but our bottom six are phenomenal and won us a lot of hockey games last year. I don’t think you can be a playoff team without a good bottom six.”

The Stars made no additions on defense and Gaglardi realizes that concerns some people, but he said –as noted in a previous story – he has confidence in the Dallas blue line based on the steps forward it took last season and the young defensemen pushing for NHL playing time.

“I think if you look at our team you’d say our defense - everybody seems to say it and you read about it – is that our defense needs to get stronger, but it’s not a position you can easily strengthen,” he said. “And if you look at what we have in terms of prospects it is going to get better just by itself. We’ve got four guys in Texas that are knocking on the door and are going to push guys to be better and are going to want to play at the NHL level. So, we are in great shape.

“I read things that Dallas needs a No. 1 defenseman, but there are only eight of those guys in the entire NHL and they are never traded. We’ve done a good job, we’ve set ourselves up for the future with our prospects. I think you saw that the way [Trevor] Daley and [Alex] Goligoski played in the second half of the season, I think for people to criticize our defense is flat wrong.”

While last season’s first round playoff loss to Anaheim was a tough pill to swallow, Gaglardi saw it as part of the process of the team learning how to win, and that it will be an important lesson that should help the team move forward.

“We didn’t know how to win. It was pretty obvious. Had we been a team that knew how to win, I liked our team in that series and I thought we could have won it,” he said. “The guys are going to have to learn. They’ve been there now and I don’t think they’ll let that happen again. I’ve talked to a bunch of the guys in the offseason and it doesn’t sit well with anyone and that’s the way it needs to be.”

Take the experience the Stars gained last season and the moves made by Nill this summer, and Gaglardi is eager about the 2014-15 campaign.

“I like our team a lot,” Gaglardi said. “I think we improved more than most teams did in the offseason. It was important to do that. We are in a tough division, but I am excited about the season.”

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 DAL 56 36 15 5 182 150 77
2 CHI 59 36 18 5 162 137 77
3 STL 57 31 17 9 138 133 71
4 LAK 54 33 18 3 151 128 69
5 SJS 54 29 20 5 158 144 63
6 ANA 54 27 19 8 123 127 62
7 COL 58 29 25 4 155 160 62
8 NSH 56 26 21 9 147 148 61
9 ARI 55 25 24 6 144 168 56
10 MIN 55 23 22 10 135 138 56
11 VAN 55 22 21 12 127 149 56
12 CGY 54 25 26 3 144 160 53
13 WPG 55 25 27 3 140 158 53
14 EDM 57 22 29 6 139 169 50

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Benn 56 29 34 18 63
T. Seguin 56 30 32 13 62
J. Klingberg 56 10 37 13 47
P. Sharp 56 16 25 -2 41
J. Spezza 52 18 22 5 40
A. Goligoski 56 4 20 16 24
C. Eakin 56 10 13 0 23
M. Janmark 56 11 10 13 21
A. Hemsky 49 6 14 0 20
J. Demers 49 7 12 16 19
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Niemi 20 10 5 .908 2.52
K. Lehtonen 16 5 0 .910 2.80
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