For a sneak peek at the mood in Dallas ahead of tonight's Predators vs Stars tilt, we checked in with Brandon Worley (@BrandonWorley on Twitter), the managing editor of SB Nation's Dallas Stars site, Defending Big D:
1) Despite selling off Brenden Morrow, Derek Roy and Jaromir Jagr, the Stars are still in the hunt for one of the final playoff spots in the West. Don't your guys know that they're doing this all wrong?
BW: On Wednesday of last week, the morning after a debilitating loss to the Anaheim Ducks and just two days after the trading Derek Roy and Jaromir Jagr, all of us looked squarely ahead to the draft. We waved the white flag, but someone forgot to tell the team.
It started with a strong game in Anaheim, a big comeback win in San Jose and then perhaps the most dominant game the Stars have played in three years in a 5-1 win over Los Angeles. This is a team that has used the changes made prior to the deadline to actually come together as a cohesive force, to overcome a seemingly lack of talent through sheer will and hard work -- while players like Jamie Benn, Loui Eriksson and Ray Whitney finally seem to be comfortable on the ice.
No telling how long it lasts, but we're going to enjoy the ride. We've forgotten about draft picks; even if they fall short of the playoffs, which is likely, I think all Stars fans will feel proud that at least they seem to have given it their all. Which wasn't the case for most of the season.
2) It looks like the vast majority of the roster is signed through next season, with most of the core guys locked up for a long time. Do you expect the Stars to do much shopping on the free agent market this summer, and what might they look for?
BW: Yes, either through trade or through free agency, they need help. I've targeted Stephen Weiss as someone the Stars should go after, since this team desperately needs depth at center. Cody Eakin is proving to be better than expected but ideally he'd still be no more than a third line center. The Stars also still need that top pairing defenseman, although it seems that Brenden Dillon has at least shown to be capable of perhaps becoming that player in the near future.
3) Is there any chance the Preds can have Vern Fiddler back for tonight's game? They're dreadfully short of NHL forwards right now. Please? Pretty please?
BW: No, we like Fiddler. You can't have him.
Thanks to Brandon for his responses, and make sure to head over to Defending Big D during tonight's game and get acquainted with some folks we'll be hearing much more from in seasons ahead...