The Dallas Stars might be the most improved team in the NHL this summer. That’s a scary thought because the team is loaded with young talent and was a playoff team last season. However, one thing the team hasn’t been able to do this summer has been upgrade the defense corps, which was the club’s biggest weakness in their playoff loss to Anaheim.

It wasn’t for lack of effort. However, the Stars (like every team in the NHL) found that the trade prices for veteran defensemen leaguewide remain just as inflated as the salary prices on unrestricted free agent defensemen. It is very much a seller’s market.

I am hearing that the plan now for the Stars is to see if at least one of their promising young defensemen steps in training camp and appears ready to take on a significant role in the NHL this season. That group of candidates includes Jamie Oleksiak, Patrik Nemeth, John Klingberg and Jykri Jokipakka. Cameron Gaunce is also a possibility.

If none of these players appears NHL ready for the start of the season, the Stars may still end up pulling the trigger on a deal for a veteran. They have kicked tires with Winnipeg, New Jersey, Toronto and Philadelphia. I was told that Oleksiak would only be available in a trade for “a proven top-pairing defenseman”. The team also prefers not to deal for an impending UFA if possible.

More to come…

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