Many of you have asked what defenseman are out there and available to be traded, and I have a few targets.
But I think patience is the key word here.
If you look at some of the great trades, they happen when a team gets frustrated, when a player somehow gets crossways with a club, when a team finds it needs cap space to make another move. Thus the term, ``keeping your powder dry.''
You never know when a great player might become available, so the Stars might have to ride this roster into next season, let the young D get some experience, and then reassess what they have.
But, here are a few persons of interest:
Tomas Kaberle _ The Maple Leafs are looking to get tougher and create cap space, and Kaberle is on the market. He is 31, he can play 25 minutes a game, and he has two years left on his contract at $4.25 million. He is pretty much a 50-point guy minimum right now, and he had a breakout year in 2005-06 when he had nine goals and 58 assists for 67 points while logging 28 minutes a night. All in all, the guy is a pretty good skilled defenseman who would fit what the Stars need in terms of budget.
Mark Streit _ The Stars love this guy. He's 31, but has played in the NHL for only four seasons (he's from Sweden). He was such a power play specialist that he was used as a forward part-time when he played in Montreal two seasons ago. The Islanders signed him as a free agent last summer to a five year deal that averages $4.1 million a year, and he excelled. He had 16 goals and 40 assists (10 and 19 on the power play) in 74 games while logging 25 minutes a game. He was plus-6 on a team full of minuses. The problem is the Islanders like him, and need a skilled defenseman. You would have to blow them away with an offer of young kids and draft picks.
Dion Phaneuf _ It's easy to speculate that since the Flames now have Jay Bouwmeester, they would be willing to trade Dion Phaneuf. That makes some sense. Phaneuf has almost the same contract as Bouwmeester (five more years at $6.5 million a year). He is a big hitter who has a mean streak and plays 26 minutes a game. He had a down year last year, but he had 17 goals and 43 assists the year before. The Flames are against the cap and could use the space (and some scoring wingers), but I don't think the Stars can work this deal unless their finances turn around or they are moving contract back the other way.
John-Michael Liles _ He's small (5-10) and overpaid ($4.2 million for the next three seasons). He is more of a power play QB (18 minutes a game) than a No. 1 defenseman. But he's probably available if you want him.
Bryan McCabe _ I think it's fair to ponder whether McCabe will still be useful when the Panthers finally get good. He's 34, and he has had injury issues the past two seasons (54 and 69 games). But he's big (6-2, 220), logs a lot of minutes (between 23-28 a game) and is pretty good on the power play (15 goals, 24 assists last season). He has two years left at $5.75 million and the Panthers are looking for kids.
Barret Jackman _ With Erik Johnson and Alex Pietrangelo needing more minutes for development, Jackman might be somebody you could snag. He has three years left on his deal at $3.625 million, he's only 28, and he's a very solid player. He logs about 22 minutes a game and last year had 4-17 _ 21 with almost no power play time. There are injury issues there, but he played 82 games last season. He's not exactly what you need, but my guess is you could get him.
So, that should get you started. Anything you like? Anything I missed?