Matthew DeFranks, Stars beat writer for SportsDayDFW.com and The Dallas Morning News, answered questions about the team in a live chat Friday. Here are some highlights.
Q: Do you ever see the NHL adding an expansion franchise elsewhere in Texas? (Houston perhaps?) Nashville rivalry is growing but feels like an in-state foe could take hockey in the Lone Star State to the next level.
DeFranks: Expansion? No. I think with Seattle’s entrance to the league that pushes the league to 32 teams, expansion may be quiet for a bit. So that means we’d have to look at relocation for Texas to get another team. Arizona has a new owner, and I’m not going to pretend to know all about the Coyotes’ situation under him, but Tilman Fertitta has expressed interest in the past about bringing the NHL to Houston. It would be fun, that’s for sure. But I don’t know the future.
Q: Ben Bishop will be 33 in November. How much does he have left in the tank when it comes to putting up Vezina-caliber seasons?
DeFranks: This sounds so cliche and a bit of a cop out, but as long as he’s able to stay healthy. Ben Bishop has suffered his fair share of injuries in his career and missed 17 games with injuries last year. The evaluation on Bishop has been the same for a while now: When he’s healthy, he’s an elite goalie. Let’s see how long he’s healthy.
Q: What could Dallas get in trade for Klingberg? A top 3 forward or two top 4 defensemen? Or would Miro bring greater return?
DeFranks: Let’s suspend reality and put John Klingberg on the trading block, even though that is just about the last thing the Stars would want to do.
Klingberg is 27 years old and is making $4.25 million for the next three seasons. Since he entered the league in 2014-15, Klingberg is seventh among defensemen in points. That would command a lot. In the past few years, there’s only been a few deals involving defensemen of that magnitude. Erik Karlsson is the biggest example and he was traded entering the last year of his contract. Tyson Barrie was also traded in the last year of his contract and the Maple Leafs sent Nazem Kadri the other way to Colorado. P.K. Subban’s massive contract (and term) muddles any comparisons to the two times he’s been traded. With Klingberg’s production, age, cap hit and term remaining,
I’d have to think the return falls somewhere between what Toronto gave up for Barrie and what San Jose gave up for Karlsson, leaning more towards the Karlsson side. That was interesting to think about, but practically does not make any sense for the Stars if this is their window. We caught a glimpse of what life is like without Klingberg last year, and the Stars missed him.
Yes, Miro Heiskanen would command a greater return. An already elite 20-year-old defenseman with two years remaining on his entry-level contract is as close as gold as players get. But we’ve suspended reality here.
Q: Dallas opens the 2019-2020 season with back-to-back games against the two Stanley Cup Final participants from this past season. Has that ever happened before in the expansion era, to your knowledge?
DeFranks: I’m not sure about that. It is an interesting schedule quirk. But it’s also weird because despite playing both St. Louis and Boston to start, the Stars won’t see a ring/banner ceremony. The Bruins will be at the AAC, and the Blues will host Washington before Dallas visits.