Dallas Stars Trade Rumors: Ritchie, Nichushkin, Honka could be next to go

DALLAS, TX - OCTOBER 13: Brett Ritchie #25 of the Dallas Stars and Adam Henrique #14 of the Anaheim Ducks in the third period at American Airlines Center on October 13, 2018 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - OCTOBER 13: Brett Ritchie #25 of the Dallas Stars and Adam Henrique #14 of the Anaheim Ducks in the third period at American Airlines Center on October 13, 2018 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

Dallas Stars’ forwards Brett Ritchie and Valeri Nichushkin and defenseman Julius Honka could be on the trading block. With the NHL’s trade deadline just over a month away, it’s possible that they may not be Stars for much longer.

The Dallas Stars turned some heads when they sent fan-favorite center Devin Shore to the Anaheim Ducks in a one-for-one deal that brought veteran Iron Man Andrew Cogliano to the Lone Star State.

In theory, the move was done to help boost some of the leadership and playoff experience in the Stars’ locker room.

Related Story. Stars send Shore to Anaheim for veteran forward Cogliano. light

But there’s a good chance Jim Nill isn’t done yet.

Per a report earlier in the week from TSN, the Stars are shopping around forward Brett Ritchie to see if any teams around the league would be willing to take a chance with him.

Ritchie has struggled this season, only posting two goals and four points in 24 games.

The Stars’ second-round selection in 2011 had a good year during the 2016-17 season, where he recorded 16 goals and 24 points in 78 games as a depth-role winger. Last season, his production dropped, as he only scored seven goals and 14 points in 71 games.

Ritchie signed a two-year, $3.5 million dollar deal with the Stars in the offseason after his breakout season in the 2016-17 campaign. Although his $1.75 million dollar AAV isn’t a lot, the Stars might move in another direction considering Ritchie’s low point total this season. He hasn’t registered a point since Dec. 7, where he had an assist in Dallas’ win over San Jose.

The problem with shopping around Ritchie, though, is that he doesn’t have much market value. A team might be willing to take him to fill a bottom-six winger role, but he certainly won’t be talked about very much leading up to the deadline, and the demand to trade for him isn’t high.

Could Valeri be Nichush’gone’ soon?

There’s also a chance that the Dallas Stars move forward Valeri Nichuskin before the deadline, per Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

Nichushkin was able to scrap together 27 goals and 51 points in 86 games over the past two seasons for CSKA Moskow in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) in Russia. After playing for them from 2016 to 2018, the Stars finally brought him back to the States.

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His much-anticipated return by Stars fans, however, has been ultimately depressing, as he’s only recorded seven assists this season despite having played in 37 games.

If the Stars were to trade Nichushkin in the next month, chances are he’d have a similar amount of trade value as Ritchie. His size does give him an advantage both on the ice and on the market; at 6’4″, 210 pounds, he is a physical player that can go around—or over—defenders in the offensive zone. That said, athletes’ successes are based on their numbers, and Nichushkin’s aren’t great.

The big Russian was Dallas’ first-round pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, which adds some value to his name. However, he hasn’t produced as much as the Stars would have liked him too when they decided to bring him back from Europe and sign him to a two-year deal last summer. Nichushkin still has a year left on his contract, which expires after next season. Trading him or Ritchie probably would, as Stars SportsDay writer Matthew DeFranks notes, a ‘change of scenery trade’ more than it would be one for Dallas to find significant top-six forward help.

Realistically, Nichushkin might end up back in Russia after his contract expires, but until then, and as for now, he is still a Dallas Star. The question that remains though, is for how long?

What about Julius Honka?

Stars’ blueliner Julius Honka has ridden the pine for most of this season.

He’s only played in 29 out of the Stars’ 48 games this season, and he is averaging just 13:43 minutes of ice time per game.

He does have four assists on the season, but Honka has unfortunately been the “odd man out,” on defense with the Stars adding Miro Heiskanen, Gavin Beyreuther, Taylor Fedun, Connor Carrick, Roman Polak, Joel Hanley, and Ben Gleason to the roster this year.

So, what gives?

Honka probably has some decent market value and could help a team’s blue line in terms of offensive production and defensive depth; teams that are making a playoff run that need defensive depth like Toronto, the Islanders, or Columbus.

Either way, Honka has yet to unleash his true potential with the Stars. Despite being in the Stars’ organization since he was drafted 14th overall in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, he has only played in 87 NHL games and recorded 13 points (2 G, 11 A) since he made his NHL debut in 2016. Honka was expected to be a promising young defender in the Stars’ organization, but he has not lived up to expectations—thus making an argument that trading him to a team that needs a young defensive prospect could be good for him and beneficial for Dallas in return.

Next. Mediocrity is the unfortunate norm for the Dallas Stars. dark

What do you think, Stars fans? Will Dallas move Brett Ritchie, Valeri Nichushkin, or Julius Honka at the trade deadline? If not, who else? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

  • Published on 01/18/2019 at 23:01 PM
  • Last updated at 01/18/2019 at 21:50 PM