Stars Game Day: For a first round pick

The Eastern Conference Final is set, and it’ll be Pittsburgh vs. Tampa Bay. With two Game 7s, however, the West is still totally up in the air. Will it be Dallas or St. Louis; San Jose or Nashville?

More importantly: will the Flames have a second first round pick with which to work in this year’s draft, or a third second rounder? We’ll find out tonight at 6 p.m. MT, when the Stars host the Blues for the right to go to the Western Conference Final. A win, and the Flames’ pick for Kris Russell is roughly 25-27 spots earlier than it would be with a loss.

So you could say Flames Nation has an understandable interest in this game. Let’s go Stars!

Let’s recap how we got here.

  • Game 1: DAL 2 – STL 1
  • Game 2: STL 4 – DAL 3 (OT)
  • Game 3: STL 6 – DAL 1
  • Game 4: DAL 3 – STL 2 (OT)
  • Game 5: STL 4 – DAL 1
  • Game 6: DAL 3 – STL 2

It’s a 3-3 series, but for all of Dallas’ scoring during the regular season – they led the way with 267 goals; the Blues were 15th in the NHL with 224, 43 fewer – it’s St. Louis leading the way this series, having out-scored the Stars 19-13. 

Every game Dallas has won has been by just a single goal, while the Blues have been able to secure multi-goal leads twice this series, and actually hold on to them.

Case in point: Game 6. The Stars jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the fist period, and promptly sat back and waited for the Blues to turn the game into a heart attack waiting to happen. They were outshot 37-14, and had to rely on Kari Lehtonen – who has a save percentage of .908 these playoffs; the four starters below him were all first-round exits – to steal the game for them.

Seriously, it wasn’t pretty:

chart

The team with the blue line is one win away from being one of the final four teams of these playoffs. And they’re the team we’re cheering for. Yikes. 

On the one hand, the Stars do deserve credit for making it as far as they have without one of their best players in Tyler Seguin. On the other hand, unless the Stars are your number one bandwagon team, who cares? The Flames don’t get another first round pick just because the team that promised them one is trying really hard.

Through the second round, the Stars have been a 49.4% CF team at 5v5: the worst of all eight second round teams. They’ve certainly got their work cut out for them this game, but that’s all it comes down to. This one game.

Here are the projected lineups, via Daily Faceoff.

Dallas Stars

Jamie Benn 
Jamie Benn
Cody Eakin 
Cody Eakin
Patrick Sharp 
Patrick Sharp
Mattias Janmark  
Mattias Janmark
Jason Spezza 
Jason Spezza
Valeri Nichushkin 
Valeri Nichushkin
Antoine Roussel 
Antoine Roussel
Radek Faksa 
Radek Faksa
Ales Hemsky 
Ales Hemsky
Colton Sceviour 
Colton Sceviour
Vernon Fiddler 
Vernon Fiddler
Patrick Eaves 
Patrick Eaves
Alex Goligoski 
Alex Goligoski
John Klingberg 
John Klingberg
Johnny Oduya 
Johnny Oduya
Stephen Johns 
Stephen Johns
Kris Russell 
Kris Russell
Jason Demers 
Jason Demers

Kari Lehtonen 
Kari Lehtonen

Antti Niemi 
Antti Niemi

St. Louis Blues

Jaden Schwartz 
Jaden Schwartz
Jori Lehtera 
Jori Lehtera
Vladimir Tarasenko 
Vladimir Tarasenko
Robby Fabbri 
Robby Fabbri
Paul Stastny 
Paul Stastny
Troy Brouwer 
Troy Brouwer
Patrik Berglund 
Patrik Berglund
Alex Steen 
Alex Steen
David Backes 
David Backes
Scottie Upshall 
Scottie Upshall
Kyle Brodziak 
Kyle Brodziak
Dmitrij Jaskin 
Dmitrij Jaskin
Jay Bouwmeester 
Jay Bouwmeester
Alex Pietrangelo 
Alex Pietrangelo
Kevin Shattenkirk 
Kevin Shattenkirk
Robert Bortuzzo 
Robert Bortuzzo
Carl Gunnarsson 
Carl Gunnarsson
Colton Parayko 
Colton Parayko

Brian Elliott 
Brian Elliott

Jake Allen 
Jake Allen

What’s at stake?

There’s an extra layer to the pick in that Russell has to play at least half of the Stars’ playoff games. It’s nothing anyone needs to worry about, though: Russell is set to play his 12th of 13 games, so he’s all but a lock to play at least half of them. The most the Stars can play these playoffs is 27, so really, he just needs to dress another three times, including this Game 7, to clinch that requirement.

If the Stars win, the pick the Flames receive from them will be anywhere from 28-30th overall. It’ll be 28th overall if Dallas loses in the third round, 29th if they lose in the Cup Final, and 30th if they win the Stanley Cup.

If the Stars lose, the pick the Flames receive from them will be 55th overall.

Go Stars! Because if you can get a higher pick, well, that’s always preferred.