The Dallas Stars have been the busiest team in the NHL so far this offseason.
They traded longtime centerman Mike Ribeiro to Washington, sent legendary pest Steve Ott to Buffalo for Derek Roy, signed two 40-year-olds in Ray Whitney and Jaromir Jagr and still managed to add a few other parts to their team.
Dallas has their top six set with Jamie Benn, Loui Eriksson, Michael Ryder, Roy, Whitney and Jagr. Kari Lehtonen is coming off the best season of his career. He showed that he can be a number one goaltender and stay healthy.
But the glaring problem for the Stars is their defense.
Dallas has been without a top flight defender since the early 2000s when Derian Hatcher and Sergei Zubov were in their primes. Since then, the Stars' defense has been a constant shuffling of players too young and too old.
Currently, their top two defensemen are Alex Goligoski and Stephane Robidas.
Make no mistake about it, Goligoski and Robidas are quality players, but they're not enough to get Dallas over the hump.
So, with this in mind, Dallas should look for a player that can fill that role.
Enter Calgary's Jay Bouwmeester.
Bouwmeester showed that he can be a number one defenseman during his first six years in the NHL with Florida. He was then moved to Calgary where his offensive stats took a huge hit.
The Flames' offense has struggled over the last several seasons and a large amount of blame and frustration has been aimed towards Bouwmeester. Over the last few seasons, however, anyone playing for Calgary not named Jarome Iginla has struggled.
Calgary fans' frustration is understandable. Bouwmeester is being paid just over $6.5 million per year. The Flames have the fourth highest payroll in the league (~$67 million), and yet, they're a 10th place team. That's a lot of money going into a non-playoff team.
Meanwhile, the Stars have around $20 million to spare.
This gives Dallas the opportunity to jump in and not only help Calgary shed some salary, but also add a player who can give the defense the jump it needs. A change of scenery can do wonders for a player and in Bouwmeester's case, it can't be too much of a stretch to believe he'd want one.
So, what would it take to make this happen?
Robidas' name has been brought up in trade talks and if he's packaged with the right prospect (someone like Scott Glennie), a deal could be made, assuming Bouwmeester would wave his NTC.
Robidas is one of the hardest working defensemen in the league and can chip in a goal from time to time. He's also one of the most respected players across the board. He can help any team in the locker room as well as on the ice.
Glennie is almost NHL ready and is a finesse, talented center. Combine the fact that Robidas makes less than half of Bouwmeester's salary with Glennie's offensive potential and you've got a trade.
Bouwmeester would give Dallas a big shot from the point, some much-needed size and strength and more offensive ability from the defense. And as was previously mentioned, Dallas would have no problem taking on nearly $7 million in salary for the next two seasons.
Dallas desperately needs a standout defenseman and Bouwmeester could be the player they need.
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