The Dallas Stars’ playoff hopes took a hit on Sunday night in a blowout 7-2 loss to the Winnipeg Jets. The Stars, who haven’t qualified for the postseason since 2007-08, currently sit in 5th place in the Central Division and are locked at 75 points along with the Phoenix Coyotes. The lopsided loss to the Jets is certainly a bad look with just 15 games left on the schedule, but Dallas’ season can hardly be considered over at this point.
Although the Stars playoff status is of the bubble team variety, the 2013-14 season has to be considered a major success in getting the franchise back on track as a winner. General manager Jim Nill’s offseason retooling that included the additions of Tyler Seguin, Rich Peverley, and Shawn Horcoff has helped give the team a core group worth getting excited for the future over, even if attendance happens to be down at the American Airlines Center. It’s the addition of Seguin, in particular, which has helped the Stars the most. The former No. 2 overall draft choice set career highs in both goals and points over the past week, and he’s played a major role in Jamie Benn’s ascension to near-elite status in the league. So, how does last June’s blockbuster trade with the Boston Bruins look now?
Peter Chiarelli shipped then 21-year old Seguin, Peverley, and Ryan Button to Dallas for Loui Eriksson, Joe Morrow, Reilly Smith, and Matt Fraser. Seguin’s last days with the Bruins were shrouded in rumors of excessive partying. Still, it was a surprise of sorts, especially considering Seguin’s youth and upside. The Bruins gained a couple of great immediate pieces in Eriksson and Smith, while Morrow might make an impact down the road. Seguin probably isn’t the first 21-year old NHLer to earn a reputation for liking his liquids. Nine months after the fact, and there’s no apparent sign of buyers remorse on either side.
It’s an enviable position that the Bruins find themselves in, you know, with remaining the class of the Eastern Conference despite Chiarelli’s penchant for moving his best young talents every few years. There’s probably not a lot of teams that would continue to sit atop the conference standings for the better part of five seasons after having traded Phil Kessel and Tyler Seguin (who were ostensibly traded for each other in 2009). It’s quite a juggernaut Chiarelli has built in Boston. Eriksson quietly put up three consecutive 70+ point seasons in Dallas between 2009 and 2012. His production is down this season, but he’s been a possession monster for the Bruins, ranking second to Patrice Bergeron in both Corsi for % and Fenwick for %. Smith has been a nice surprise for the Bruins, too, currently sitting within striking distance of a 20 goal season with 18. The Bruins lead their conference with 95 points today, and they represent the East’s best shot at taking down the West.
In Seguin, the Stars gained one of the most offensively talented young players in the game. Boston’s depth relegated Seguin to a non-offensive role which, coupled with a terrible run of shooting percentage luck in last spring’s playoffs, helped spell the end to his time in Massachusetts along with the hard partying rumors. He appears to have found his offensive touch while centering Dallas’ top line with Benn and Valeri Nichushkin. Peverley’s contributions to the Stars can’t be overlooked either, although last week’s scary incident has put his status in limbo for the time being.
The Bruins went on to win a Stanley Cup, and compete for another, without Kessel, which obviously softens the blow of watching him blossom into a superstar with the Toronto Maple Leafs. It’s certainly fathomable that we’ll all look back five years down the road and scratch our heads over how Boston could move Kessel AND the centerpiece of his return in Seguin (the No. 2 pick in the 2010 draft). For right now, though, the Bruins appear to be no worse for wear. The Stars gained a great young player set to crack 70 points for the first time at 22 years of age, and he hasn’t hit his ceiling yet.
It’s boring to look back upon trades and declare them a win for all parties involved, but the deal that sent Seguin to Dallas and Eriksson to Boston is clearly paying off for both sides. It might not look so mutually beneficial in a few years, but it was a great trade when it was made.