Phew, it’s been a very busy day around the NHL. Now that the deadline has come and gone, let’s look at how the Dallas Stars have fared and how it will affect them going forward. Yesterday, it was announced that Dallas had sent veteran Stephane Robidas to the Anaheim Ducks for a fourth round conditional pick in the 2014 draft. Today, Dallas traded backup goaltender Dan Ellis to the Florida Panthers in exchange for Tim Thomas.
Early in the season Robidas was rumored to be a trade possibility because he was set to become a free agent this summer. After suffering a broken leg on Nov. 29, however, talk of Robidas being traded had quieted. Recently Robidas had been practicing with the Stars and was likely to return in mid-March. Quite frankly, his presence on the blue line would have been a huge boost to Dallas going down the stretch. More frustrating is the seemingly low return for Robidas, but compared to other deals made over the past few days, anything higher was unlikely.
The bigger surprise came today when it was announced that the Stars had acquired Thomas from the Panthers. It’s not a trade that anyone could have seen coming over the past weeks, but it’s one that will benefit Dallas. The announcement that Roberto Luongo had been sent to the Panthers was an immediate sign that Thomas might be available, and it was a smart move on the part of general manager Jim Nill to snag him. Ellis had been passable as a backup for the Stars but still had his shaky moments. Thomas, though, should bring a higher quality of goaltending to Dallas that will be needed going forward. Additionally, a healthy dose of a competition in goal might be a good thing for Kari Lehtonen.
But perhaps the biggest surprise of the day was what didn’t happen in Dallas. Some of the pieces that were expected to move – chiefly Ray Whitney and Vernon Fiddler – appear to be staying put. Both players will be unrestricted free agents at the end of the season and do not figure into the future of the Stars. Unfortunately, just because it would make sense to a move a player doesn’t necessarily mean a trade will happen.