Latest on the Stars, Wild & Devils – April 18, 2017
The Dallas Stars could trade Cody Eakin before the expansion draft, another possible early playoff exit could lead to changes for the Minnesota Wild, and five players who won’t return with the New Jersey Devils.
DALLAS MORNING NEWS: In a recent live chat with Dallas Stars fans, Mike Heika said the club will protect seven forwards and three defensemen in the June expansion draft. It’s between Jamie Oleksiak and Stephen Johns on defense and between forwards Cody Eakin and Antoine Roussel.
Heika thinks the Stars could try to trade Eakin before the June 17 deadline for submitting their list of protected players. He believes new head coach Ken Hitchcock wants to use Tyler Seguin, Jason Spezza and Radek Faksa at center. That would mean moving Eakin to the wing, where’s he’s not as effective.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Eakin, 25, is a versatile, hardworking two-way forward finishing the first season in a four-year contract with an annual cap hit of $3.875 million. While his cap hit might be a tad high for some clubs, his youth and skills could attract interest if the Stars put him on the trade block. If they do shop him, they could seek a draft pick or a prospect in return. They could also look for a draft-exempt NHL-ready winger.
STARTRIBUNE.COM: Chip Scoggins cites the Minnesota Wild’s inability to score as a frequent issue hampering the club in the playoffs. With the Wild on the verge of another early playoff exit, Scoggins suggests general manager Chuck Fletcher faces another uncomfortable offseason examining if his club is built to win or simply spinning its wheels.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild were among this season’s highest-scoring club, but their offense sputtered down the stretch and into the postseason. If Fletcher decides to shake things up, he could consider drawing upon his depth on defense. Even if he protects four defensemen in the expansion draft, he still risks losing a good young blueliner. Perhaps he’ll get creative before the expansion draft. Should the Blues finish off the Wild this week, I’m sure there’ll be plenty of speculation over Fletcher’s plans.
NJ.COM: Chris Ryan lists Jacob Josefson, Devante Smith-Pelly, Marc Savard, Seth Helgeson and Luke Gazdic as five players who won’t return with the New Jersey Devils. Josefson is a restricted free agent and Savard an unrestricted free agent who hasn’t played since 2011. Helgeson and Gazdic are also UFAs. Smith-Pelly has a year remaining on his contract and could be left exposed in the expansion draft.