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Mailbag: Kelly Forbes moves on, Hurricanes prospect crunch, and offseason offerings
Plus we talk about the blue line, potential offers for Alex DeBrincat, I link to a rant about the Hockey Hall of Fame Process, and the Bally Sports debacles.
Video coach Kelly Forbes annouced he was leaving. Obviously he has a huge impact on the players and team. How does Dallas replace and how much use of analytics are they using today versus a year ago? (From Michael)
Kelly Forbes run in Dallas was impressive.
He worked for seven head coaches in a span of 14 seasons, he was hired back in 2009 by Marc Crawford.
I spoke with Forbes this weeks and he left the Stars for the same reason I left the Stars beat and moved back to Michigan — family.
Fourteen years of travel, long nights, and early mornings make it difficult to connect with your kids. Forbes made the decision to step away from the Stars because he wanted to be at more kids events, to not miss them growing up around him.
It’s impossible not to respect that decision.
As far as your question about the Stars and analytics, the Stars have ramped up their analytics department in recent years. Like most teams, it’s part of the day-to-day operations and it has an impact.
Matt Rodell used to the Stars assistant video coach and now runs the analytics department, he’s constantly in meetings with both coaches and management. How often that intel is used to make a decision or not is impossible to know, because teams protect their internal secrets.
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Good morning Sean,
With the Chicago Wolves going independent, the most likely scenario would be Carolina having to share an AHL affiliate with another NHL franchise, something that’s happened before. In that situation, how does the AHL team that’s caught in the middle prioritize player development? If you’ve got prospects from two organizations, who wins out, getting more ice time, and who loses out? Or would it simply be a matter of what’s best for the team at the time.
Side question, somewhat silly, I know, but there’s no chance of a temporary expansion team for Carolina to send their minor leaguers to, is there? Just a thought I had. (From Alexander)
Great question, because the Chicago Wolves going independent will be one of the more fun stories (on a nerdy level) for me to watch this season.
There have been split affiliations before in the AHL, but this won’t be one of those. The Carolina Hurricanes won't have a formal affiliate and will simply be looking for teams with open AHL roster spots to send their prospects too.
In these cases, the actual NHL affiliation will get priority, so if Carolina ends up sending a handful of players to the Hershey Bears for example, the Washington Capitals prospects would still be the priority.
The Stars had a situation like this during the 2008-09 season when they didn’t have an AHL affiliate. They sent players out to five different AHL teams, those prospects were close to lost in the wilderness and the next season Dallas corrected the development model with the Texas Stars arriving in Cedar Park.
And, no, the Hurricanes can’t just form an AHL expansion franchise.
Per league rules, there is a one-to-one ratio of NHL to AHL teams, and the Hurricanes would have to buy an existing team, they couldn’t just start their own.
This is why the Vegas Golden Knights had to buy the San Antonio Rampage and move them to Henderson.
With the UFA for defense-first defensemen being kind of weak, is there a defenseman that would be worth pursuing?
Any Dallas UFAs that we should try to keep as well? (From Brent)
I think the GM that is willing to take a pass on this free agency class, find some internal solutions, and shop at the deadline is a smart one.
There are some players I think would fit in a vacuum, but I think the cap complications and value those players will demand in a weaker market diminishes the potential return — don’t waste cap space that could be used to make your team better in season.
A former NHL GM once described July 1 this way, “We all rush to make the same mistakes that the other guy made on some other team last season.”
What’s your stars offer for Debrincat? (From Joe)
I believe the Ottawa Senators will be looking for draft and prospect capital and will feel pressure to recoup what they spent on DeBrincat at the 2022 NHL Draft.
Dallas doesn’t have a first-round pick this season, they traded that for Nils Lundksvist last summer, but I would be willing to trade a first-round pick in 2024, the second-rounder at this draft and both the fourth and fifth-rounder from this draft.
I’ve become a pretty big curmudgeon when it comes to picks. Those picks, even the first-rounder next season, are lottery scratch-off tickets. I’m willing to hand over lotto tickets for an eight-year contract with a proven goal scorer.
If the Senators want any prospect that’s outside of Dallas top-5, I’m willing to throw that in to. The Stars are in a win-now window, they should act like it.
My opinion is that the Stars are missing the Blue Liner with size, who can fight and win pucks in the corners, and clear their guy out of the crease. We (and maybe the NHL as a whole) tend to be going for the puck movers that can get out of the zone with speed. Is there still room for these bigger, stronger D guys in today's NHL? Do the Stars have any guys in the AHL like this, or are there folks out there that you think would round out the Stars lineup? (From Chepey)
Going to assume fight in this context means fight in the corners and not fisticuffs.
And there is definitely room for larger, physical defensemen in the NHL. The Vegas Golden Knights just won a Stanley Cup with a massive, physical defensive core.
The key to Vegas’ cup win, though, was that each of the big defenseman skated well. They were structurally sound and it was how they moved that size, not the size itself.
I actually think Thomas Harley could become one of these players. He’s 6-foot-3, skates well and with some more confidence, I believe he could take another step after this recent playoff run.
Outside of that, the Stars system might have a solution in Lian Bischel — I had one scout rave to me about him as “Hedman-like” — but that’s a long-term project and not an immediate solution.
Sean, interested in what you know about the Bally Sports relationship with Dallas Stars and if we should expect changes in the local broadcast for next season. (From Bill Hayes)
The Stars and Bally Sports Southwest, which is owned by Diamond Sinclair, is about as healthy as an RSN deal could currently be in the rocky RSN-climate.
Diamond Sinclair has identified Dallas, and Texas in general, as one of the markets it wants to maintain a relationship with over some others.
There’s an important wildcard with teams in Texas right now. Sports gambling is close to being legalized, and once that happens there will be a rush of sponsorship and marketing opportunities.
Next season the Stars broadcast won’t change. I also don’t expect the Stars broadcast to change much at all if it ever were to go independent from Sinclair. The Stars broadcasters are team employees, the team already does a simulcast, and Daryl Reaugh has more power in an organization than most, if not all, local broadcasters.
More of a general question than you might be looking for so feel free to skip it. But what are your thought on the HHOF clearing up quite a bit on their backlog(s)? (From Adam W.)
As I learned more about the Hockey Hall of Fame selection process, the more I became disenfranchised with caring about it.
To get selected, a player must get a “yes” vote from 14 of the 18 members of a committee that votes privately.
I go on a rant about the whole process in this episode of Expected by Whom at the 1 hour, 20 minute mark.
Which Stars prospect do you think fans should be most excited about (not in an expect them to immediately be an NHL superstar sort of a way, just a fun to see what a new player can do way) going into next season? (From Hannah)
I’m actually worried that the hype train may have gotten too high initially for Logan Stankoven. I think he’ll be a big part of the Stars future, but I’m also worried fans are going to forget that what Wyatt Johnston did this season is not the norm, most players — even great ones — need time to and some time in the AHL to figure it all out.
Personally I’m interested in paying closer attention to what Lian Bichsel does, even if it’s in Europe.
Part of the Stars long-term projection and plans center around him turning that corner and becoming that reliable 6-foot-5 force on the blue line that reads the game well. Can he start making some jumps? How does he rebound after dealing with some injuries this past season?
In your most humble opinion.....and working within what you consider to be reasonable cap restraints, who do the Stars go after to shore up the blue line? (DY)
I wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t just run it back with the same group from last season, minus Joel Hanley (who will probably find a pay bump elsewhere).
I don’t think that’s the smartest move, I’ve long made the point of addition by subtraction for Ryan Suter, but it’s something that seems most realistic and reasonable trying to project what Jim Nill will do.
If the Stars buy out Suter I think we should sign one of these D men, how realistic are these?
Radko Gudas, John Klingberg, Mark Pysyk, Ian Cole
Radko Gudas seems like to re-sign with the Florida Panthers, John Klingberg and Mark Pysyk seem unlikely to return to Dallas. From that group you list, maybe Ian Cole could be an option.