By: Josh Clark
DALLAS (105.3 The Fan) – Dallas Stars GM Jim Nill knows the reality of his team’s current situation and their chances of making the playoffs.
Dallas currently sits six points out of the final wild-card spot out west, and the four teams they are chasing (two in the wild card spots and two ahead of them outside the second spot) have game/s in hand.
“You have to go on a run here eventually,” Nill told SiriusXM NHL radio Monday morning. “We’ve been win one, lose one, win two, lose one — eventually, you gotta go on a run where you win three, four, five games in a row if you’re going to get back in it.”
The Stars were expected to elevate their game after a second-round exit from the playoffs last season at the hands of the St. Louis Blues. However, unfortunate injuries, bad defensive play and underwhelming goaltending has led to one of the most disappointing seasons in franchise history.
“We’ve been decimated by injuries again,” said Nill. “We haven’t had our full team all year. So it’s been tough to get a handle on things. But in the end, the excuses don’t matter. You’ve still got to find ways to win games.”
Dallas has three games before they go on a five-day layoff, and then they have only three more games until the March 1 trade deadline. So you can bet the next three games will give Nill a better idea of how to proceed at the end of the month.
“I’m going to know in the next week or 10 days where we’re at,” Nill said. “We’ll have to make decisions moving forward after that bye week.”
If Dallas does decide to be sellers at the deadline, you can expect forwards Patrick Eaves and Patrick Sharp to peak a lot of interest of teams needing another scoring threat. Eaves, 32, is enjoying a career year in Dallas as he leads the team in scoring with 21 goals. Sharp, 35, has had a tough season after a successful 2015-16 season with Dallas. Sharp’s disappointing season is directly associated with his inability to stay on the ice as he’s appeared in just 31 of the team’s 57 games.
Another player that could provide some interest is defenseman Johnny Oduya. The 35-year-old, however, hasn’t appeared in a game since January 17 because of an ankle injury.
Dallas must also address their goaltending at the deadline or in the offseason. Whether it’s Marc-Andre Fleury or someone else, Nill knows this team can’t compete at a high level until they make an upgrade between the pipes.
With Lindy Ruff’s contract up after this season, it can go either way in Dallas the rest of the way and beyond.
If Ruff wants to keep his job Dallas must start rattling off some wins. None more important than these next six games before the deadline.
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