While the Dallas Stars’ ownership situation remains in limbo, fans can take some relief in knowing that other issues are being solved.
For one, the Stars have hired a new head coach, and while it wasn’t any of the names I mentioned here (link to older Stars blog), I can see why Glen Gulutzan seemed like the right hire.
First off, he’s cheap. A guy with no NHL playing or coaching experience doesn’t have much room to negotiate for a big contract. I think it’s safe to assume this was a huge factor for Joe Niewendyk and crew in selecting a head coach, due to the lack of ownership stability.
Secondly, he knows the system. Gulutzan has been the head coach of the Texas Stars, Dallas’ AHL team, for the last two years. He guided the Stars to the Calder Cup finals in his first season, and last year took the team back to the Division finals before bowing out.
The main question looming for Gulutzan is can he earn the respect of his players? With that, only time will tell.
I think it won’t be a problem though, because he’s clearly earned the respect of former player and major influence Niewendyk.
Another positive so far in this Stars offseason has to be the way they handled the draft. They got a mammoth defenseman with the 14th overall pick, and continued to pick size and strength for the rest of the draft. This is key, because Dallas had such an undersized defensive unit last season.
The one major dig that I have on the Stars though, is their inability to keep Brad Richards. Of course, this is directly related to the ownership situation. Richards came out and said he would be hesitant to sign with a team that has so many front office questions. This raises the question, if we knew this was going to happen, why not trade him when the opportunity was there?
Now, I understood, and supported, not trading him before the trade deadline last season. However, now that the ownership situation has not been resolved and the Stars will not even offer him a contract, it seems like Dallas has missed a golden opportunity.
The Stars had the chance to get two good, young prospects from the New York Rangers, but they turned down the deal. Instead, the Stars held on to Richards with the hope of making the playoffs.
Now, Dallas will see their best player walk away, leaving his former team empty handed.
As for ownership, I can only hope that it gets resolved quickly. Vancouver business man Tom Gaglardi has been the frontrunner for several months now to buy the team. Several months could become even longer though, as Dallasites know firsthand that Tom Hicks tends to drag his heels when things don’t go his way.
I think that eventually, Gaglardi will be the new owner of the Dallas Stars, and as long as he doesn’t bring those Vancouver riots down with him, I’m all for having a Canadian owner. Maybe that’s a stereotype. I don’t really care.