The draft board pages include every player who was left unprotected in the 1998 Expansion Draft. The overwhelming majority of players who do not carry over are either old, unproductive, injured, primarily used for fighting, marginal players, minor league veterans, or unsigned European prospects. The majority of pending UFAs (Group III, Group V, and Group VI) will not carry over. Exceptions to these rules are provided if the incumbent team left almost nothing of value available to choose from, in which case everyone gets at least a closer look.
As we are capped by league restrictions to selecting no more than six pending free agents, we must be judicious with our choices.
The Stars finished first in the Central, first in the Western Conference, and first in the NHL in the regular season. They would end up losing to Detroit in a six-game Western Conference Final.
Goalies: Manny Fernandez, Jordan Willis(Gr.II – RFA)
Defensemen: Dan Keczmer, Craig Ludwig, Craig Muni, Evgeny Petrochinin(UE)
Forwards: Greg Adams(Gr.III – UFA), Guy Carbonneau(Gr.III – UFA), Patrick Cote(Gr.II – RFA), Peter Douris(Gr.III – UFA), Benoit Hogue(Gr.III – UFA), Mike Kennedy(Gr.II – RFA), Jeffrey Mitchell, Dave Reid, Kevin Sawyer(Gr.II – RFA), Chris Tancill
Sixteen Stars are unprotected, and we’re only considering goalie Manny Fernandez and forward Dave Reid.
G Manny Fernandez – 24-year-old goalie, originally a 3rd-round pick of Quebec (1992)
The case for taking Fernandez – There aren’t a lot of good young goalies out there in this draft, and Fernandez is undoubtedly the best NHL-ready prospect out there. Mike Dunham will be our starter, and we have no clue who the backup is going to be. Why not go with Fernandez? He was the starter on a QMJHL championship team, he was a big part of a gold medal-winning WJC team, and he was the starter on an IHL conference finalist the next year at age 20. He’s been stuck behind a couple of terrific NHL goalies in Andy Moog and Ed Belfour, and hasn’t gotten the chance. We’ll have no such concerns about whether he can go onto our roster.
The case against taking Fernandez – In four pro seasons, he has 8 NHL games to his name. He didn’t look like an NHL-caliber goalie at all until this past season in a two-game stint, and he only started one of those games. Sure, Moog and Belfour have been the starter; why hasn’t Fernandez been able to make it as the backup? If he’s NHL-caliber, why couldn’t he beat out Darcy Wakaluk, or a past-his-prime Arturs Irbe, or a North American rookie in Roman Turek?
We’re capped on how many goalies we can take; winging it on Fernandez doesn’t make sense.
F Dave Reid – 34-year-old forward, originally a 3rd-round pick of Boston (1982)
The case for taking Reid – A veteran of close to 800 NHL games, Reid is a physical defensive and checking specialist who has some offensive skill. He was a big part of Dallas’ suffocating penalty kill last year, and actually drew some extended power play time for the first time in over a decade. In the 1995-96 and 1996-97 seasons, he combined for 42 goals and 83 points despite being limited offensively to just even strength situations.
Reid will bring a lot to our team if we take him. He may be our best defensive forward, and he could bring enough offense to go onto the second line.
The case against taking Reid – He’s 34 and has a lot of mileage on his body. And although he played extremely well two and three seasons ago, this past year was another story. He went from 19 goals to 6, and from 39 points to 18 despite getting more power play time than he ever has. And most crucial for a defense-first guy, he was -15, the worst on the Stars by a mile (next-worst was Bob Bassen’s -4).
If we were getting the Reid of two seasons ago, he’d be worth a closer look. That’s not who we’re getting, and he’s unlikely to suddenly rebound at age 34.