Defenseman Ben Lovejoy was a major acquisition by the Dallas Stars last season. Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

With the trade deadline now just a few days away, we will be taking a closer look at the situation for each team over the coming weeks. Where do they stand, what do they need to do and what assets do they have to fill those needs?  Next up is a look at the Dallas Stars.

The Stars look to have a lock on a playoff spot as they hold one of the top three records in the Central Division this season; and with the next-closest team seven points behind, it’s unlikely that Dallas is in danger of falling out of the playoff race. However, the Stars are in quite the battle with both the Colorado Avalanche and St. Louis Blues for the Central Division lead and could gain a distinct advantage if they could come out on top of the division with the chance to face off against a wild-card team as opposed to playing one of those two teams, which is going to make the Stars buyers.

Record

35-20-6, third in the Central Division

Deadline Status

Buyer

Deadline Cap Space

$4.75 million in a full-season cap hit, 0/3 used salary cap retention slots, 48/50 contracts per CapFriendly

Upcoming Draft Picks

2020: DAL 1st, DAL 4th, DAL 5th, DAL 6th
2021: DAL 1st, DAL 2nd, DAL 3rd, DAL 4th, DAL 5th, DAL 6th, DAL 7th

Trade Chips


Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

Perhaps the biggest problem for the Stars is that their assets don’t match those of the Colorado Avalanche or even St. Louis. The Stars were quite active a year ago when they acquired Mats Zuccarello and Ben Lovejoy at the trade deadline, which cost them several draft picks and traded several other picks earlier than that, which leaves Dallas short a second and third-round pick for this coming draft; and it would seem unlikely the Stars would trade their first-rounder this year. However, the Stars do have their full complement of picks for the 2021 season, so they have some picks available if they want to add a player at the deadline.

Another trade chip, although not a big one, might be Julius Honka, whose rights still belong to the Dallas Stars even though he is playing the season in Finland with Jyp HT Jyvaskyla in the Liiga. The 24-year-old was a highly touted first-round pick in 2014, but failed to earn a full-time role with the Stars in 87 NHL games and finally requested a trade. However, few teams showed interest this past summer, and Honka opted to sign overseas. He has four goals and 15 points in 38 contests in the Liiga and could have generated enough interest for a team to make an offer on him.

Dallas is highly unlikely to move its top prospects in forward Jason Robertson, defenseman Thomas Harley and goaltender Jake Oettinger. However, Dallas has some secondary prospects, including Ty Delandrea, Ben Gleason, Oskar Back and Adam Mascherin.

Five Players To Watch For: F Oskar Back, F Ty Delandrea, D Ben Gleason, D Julius Honka, F Corey Perry.

Team Needs

1) Top-Nine Forward: The Stars always need scoring that can add to their offense, but the real question is whether Dallas has the assets, or more importantly, is willing to spend what it might take to go out and get a top player like it did a year ago. However, with random injuries and the Stars trying hard to have three equal lines at the top, Dallas could use a goal scorer who can add to the Stars. However, with the high cost so far for top players, it might seem unlikely that general manager Jim Nill pulls the trigger.

2) Forward Depth: It’s far more likely that Dallas is a top candidate to go out and add some depth to its bottom-six, which could be quite a bit cheaper for the Stars. Throw in the fact that there is little cap room with which to maneuver on this roster and this is the more likely scenario -- picking up a veteran who can help out and serve as a replacement if there are any other significant injuries in the stretch run.

This article first appeared on Pro Hockey Rumors and was syndicated with permission.


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