It is hard to believe the Dallas Stars drop the puck Friday night. And before the 2017-18 NHL season even starts, there is an MVP award to be handed out.
We need to make an exception since Tom Gaglardi is not a player but no matter where the Stars finish in the Central and regardless if they make the playoffs, Gaglardi has given Jim Nill and Ken Hitchcock everything they need. That is all you can ask for in your owner.
How quickly we have all forgotten the financially strapped Stars years where league approval was needed to make moves. In fact, we are around the sixth anniversary of the Stars receiving approval to file bankruptcy and be sold at auction. There was one bidder and that was Gaglardi. Fast forward to the team that hits the ice this year. From bankruptcy to the eighth highest NHL payroll according to CapFriendly.com. Two of the original six NHL franchises, the Montreal Canadiens and New York Rangers fall below the Stars. Major hockey hotspots like Pittsburgh and Philly fall below as well. Do not take offense Stars fans and I am one of you, those are heritage hockey cities.
How does this compare to our other professional franchises in town? The Stars have the highest ranked payroll in their sports compared to the Rangers, Cowboys, Mavericks and FC Dallas.
Last year was a bitter disappointment. While it would have made many upset if the Stars moved towards a youth rebuild, that was an option. Instead, the management led by Jim Nill grabbed an all-time great coach who was part of this team’s greatest memory out of retirement. They got a top tier goaltender in Ben Bishop. That meant that they had to eat 3 million dollars over the next two years to buyout Antti Niemi. I thought they were stuck because that is quality cap space to eat but they did it. Alexander Radulov was a top tier prize free agent that many teams were trying to secure. The Stars opened up the wallet and improved their top line. The team needed help defensively in the middle and on face off draws. They went out and addressed it with Martin Hanzal. They also took on a healthy Marc Methot salary for the next two years and Methot will provide the much-needed Blue Line help.
Let us also not forget that many clubs courted Jim Nill and he chose Dallas.
We are truly fortunate in DFW to have names like Jerry Jones, Ray Davis, Bob Simpson, Mark Cuban and Clark Hunt overseeing our local franchises. Tom Gaglardi makes this an even more impressive list.