As for other news...

...that I just found out…

Matty Norstrom officially retired today. The 36-year-old ‘D’ decided that he would go out looking good.

Norstrom had a strong playoff with the Stars, going all the way to the Conference Finals, but decided that the time was ripe for retirement. His family is already in Sweden, so it’s not like he’ll have to figure out too much.

Sadly enough, this actually works out for the Stars, who had Norstrom, Sergei Zubov, Phillipe Boucher, Trevor Daley, Stephane Robidas, Matt Niskanen, Niklas Grossman, and Mark Fistric on the roster last year. Norstrom was set to be a UFA, but he previously announced that he would rather stay with the Stars than go to another team.

I can see Zubov and Boucher continuing to run the top line, Niskanen and Robidas running the second line, and Daley and Grossman running the second line. Fistric would either be the
seventh defenseman, or an injury call-up. Seventh is more likely because the Stars do not want to lose Fistric to a waiver claim.

Another interesting thought will be if Dallas loses both Stu Barnes (considering retirement) and Antti Miettinen (UFA). If so, spots will be open for young guns James Neal and either Konstatin Pushkarev or Vojtech Polak. Neal definitely appears ready for an NHL job after playing superbly late in the year for Iowa (AHL). Pushkarev is a consistent AHL performer whose versatile ability to play all three forward positions would be useful for the Stars, while Polak has been a prospect for several years and needs to step up to lock himself with the team.

Also key is the status’ of Nik Hagman, Polak, Pushkarev, B.J. Crombeen, and Loui Eriksson, all of whom are either UFA’s or RFA’s.

I’m expecting the Stars to let Johan Holmqvist walk so Tobias Stephan can see back-up duty, and Richard Bachman can see AHL time, but that isn't confirmed yet.

STARS RULE!!!!!!!!!

Another Trade

This one could also be influential for both teams, although since I can’t magically predict who Anaheim will take in the third round, I’ll just look at the Wild’s side.

The Wild made the playoffs this year, largely because of their offensive domination. Nine players had double-digit goal totals, and two defenseman had more than 25 points.

However, once they hit the first round, Minnesota’s top scorers were shut down by the defensive play of the Avalanche, not to mention that the Avs could score too.

Marc-Andre Bergeron’s reputation is that of an offensive defenseman, but he’s also a young player who can still learn. Under the guidance of veteran Minny blue-liners Nick Schultz (+9) and Keith Carney (+8), Bergeron can learn some lessons on playing better defense.

Not to mention that an offensive combo of Brent Burns (career highs of 15 goals, 42 points last year), Kim Johnsson (27 points last year), and Bergeron (career high 46 points in 06-07) is a pretty nice deal.

Anaheim won’t get much other than another prospect unless it can hit a Datsyuk-esque late-rounder.

STARS RULE!!!!!!!!!!!!