Before focusing on the playoffs, ESPN NHL Insider E.J. Hradek wanted to take one parting shot at the 14 teams left behind. He also singled out one guy who did his part in a lost season.
His comment on the Stars:
Loose defensive play and inconsistent goaltending will lead you to an early vacation. That was the case in Big D. Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk will investigate the trade market during the summer. He'd probably be willing to deal a center like Mike Ribeiro or Brad Richards in the right scenario. The Stars could definitely use some experienced help on the blue line. Of course, the club's ownership situation -- which remains uncertain with Tom Hicks looking to move the club -- could change the dynamic for Nieuwendyk.
Don't Blame Me: Mark Fistric. Somehow, on one of the worst defensive team's in the league, the rugged 23-year-old defenseman finished with a terrific plus-27 rating. There was no one else on the roster close to that number. A first-round pick in 2004, Fistric won't thrill anyone with his puck-moving skill, but he's obviously doing something right as tough, stay-at-home type.