COMMENTARY | Trevor Daley has been on this team for far too long.
The only player who's been a mainstay on the Dallas Stars for longer is Stephane Robidas, and even he was traded to the Blackhawks for half a season.
Daley was supposed to be the guy who partnered with and one day replaced Sergei Zubov as the premier offensive defenseman on this team. And yet Daley's highest point total to date has been 27, for a guy who is not regarded as a shut down defender, either.
Unfortunately Daley has been allowed to remain on the team as a piece of dead weight for the past 10 years, initially with high expectations and later as a guy who you expect to see out there just because it's been that way for so long. Also, the dearth of a quality top-four for so many years has probably shielded us from the fact that Daley needs to go.
But guess what? He ain't getting any younger on a team that has gone much younger and is turning a corner. The Stars are rebuilding and attempting to become a contender.
Let's not be too harsh, here. Daley is not a complete turnover machine, nor does he have such a hard time scoring that he's put in the same category as Craig Ludwig (especially because Ludwig was a much better defenseman).
Daley is a guy you can count on to go out there and not do anything stupid.
However, it's puzzling when you look at some of his best qualities. When he turns on the afterburners, Daley can rocket down the ice in an amazing display of offense that isn't seen by a lot of defensemen in this league. I don't know if it's the training he's received since he came to Dallas or if he's naturally wary of showing that talent, but it doesn't happen often.
But at 30 years old and with a glut of young defensemen waiting to come up through the system, and even too many veteran defensemen with Aaron Rome waiting to see his turn in the lineup, Daley needs to be the odd man out at some point this year.
In fact, Daley should be the Stars' main trade bait at the deadline. What do you get for a guy like Daley? You're maybe looking at a mid-round draft pick or two, so not a whole lot. It's better than letting him deteriorate on the Stars' blue line, where he's barely showed any signs of developing into the player we thought he'd be.
But when it's actually time to talk about trading Daley, that's when things get a little tricky. He has a limited no trade clause and an average cap hit of $3.3 million (per CapGeek).
Despite his many shortcomings as a general manager, Joe Nieuwendyk didn't sign a lot of bad contracts. This was one of the few.
In quotes to the media at the time, Nieuwendyk said the team was betting on Daley being an even bigger part of the Dallas defense as he continued to grow his game. The problem is that hasn't happened.
Daley has been pedestrian at best and needs to be moved ASAP to get rid of this emotional connection the team feels toward Daley. And that is that he's a good defenseman, just because he's been here for a long time.
Make room for Kevin Connauton, Jamie Oleksiak and Patrik Nemeth. If they're not all NHL ready, they're getting close. And having eight defensemen ready on any given night with no looks for these three guys won't help them see what they're looking forward to at the NHL level.
Not to mention the log jam doesn't even allow Rome into the lineup, who is a functioning replacement for Daley at a much lower cap hit.
Dallas Stars -- do yourself a favor and ditch Daley at some point this season. The Stars system is chock full of talented young defensemen, and it's one of the most encouraging things in recent memory about the franchise. I don't necessarily doubt that Daley could become a better defenseman, but it should be somewhere else where he can get a fresh start.
Which is another important point: NHL players often need a change of scenery to live up to their expectations. We saw it recently in Dallas when Sheldon Souray came into town, disgraced after being relegated to the minors after a poor performance in Edmonton.
He came into Dallas and turned in a great performance for a guy who had not played in the NHL for more than a year. That's what we can hope for in Trevor Daley.
Let's see them play and take a gamble for the future instead of hoping the past pans out differently than it already has.
Jon Vanderlaan is a long-time Dallas Stars fan who works by day as a journalist at a small Texas metro newspaper. Jon also has a Twitter machine. After you comment, feel free to follow and direct further written abuse toward @vandy5610.
- Sports & Recreation
- Ice Hockey
- Trevor Daley
- Dallas Stars