In my opinion, The Stars are buyers this year...
No, not a defenseman. A healthy BOUCHER and ZUBOV will REALLY put a strong defensive face on a team that has been playing good defense without those two standouts. NORSTROM is the only UFA as well, so the defensive corps is in pretty good shape.
I do NOT believe they need a Centerman. If they are going to go for one, they will either have to dump RIEBERO, which doesn't make sense, or put MODANO on a wing, something that would not necessarily be a natural move this late in the season. (They will not dump MO - he will retire as a Dallas Star.)
For two reasons I believe they are best suited to go after a Winger. First, BRETT HULL tells it like it is no matter what you might or might not like to hear. Second, one of his first comments when hired as a Co-GM was that the team needed to get 'someone who can play with (MODANO).' His is a primarily scoring philosophy, but he displayed an ability to practice team defense in The Stars Cup year. So I think he is looking for more 'O' and a balanced 'D' - to me this spells ONE, good trade for some more offense, preferably that can work with MODANO and make two, producing lines opponents would have to work hard to beat.
So in looking at EKLUND's Rumor Chart, I would put my eye on the Wingers. The best possible fits would be, in order, HOSSA, then BLAKE, followed by the resurgent MARK RECCHI (27 points in last 33 games with ATLANTA).
HOSSA may carry too large a price tag for DALLAS - possibly a NIKLAS HAGMAN + a prospect + a draft pick, or worse JIRI LEHTINEN with extras tacked on. The issue is that HOSSA is his team's 'franchise' player, so Mr. WADDELL is displaying a franchise price tag. His current age and abilities make him a great pick for a line with MODANO for the rest of this year and into the next two, however. And BRETT HULL is not going to forget like most of Dallas' fans that the only reason MARTY TURCO did not lead the team past the first round of the playoffs last year is there was no scoring to back him up. I heard BILL CLEMENT say HOSSA is not a JOE THORTONesque type of player. I believe, however, he could thrive with MODANO who can either make the play or complete the pass.
JASON BLAKE is almost as old a MODANO. He has game, however, and quite possibly is something of a victim of playing in TORONTO and the current state of his health or he could be a 30-goal man. But his history points to that good feel for the back of the net, and he has a ton of heart or he would simply take the year off to get healthy. (He knows better than we fans that hockey IS therapy.)
RECCHI is only good for a year or two at age 40 already. It takes a well-conditioned machine with a whole lot of heart to play this sport at that age. But his resurgence in Atlanta shows he has that. For him to fit in on the wing with MO, he would have to pack that same juice he has and bring it west for the rest of this season and on into the playoffs. If it's RECCHI, it's either a rental, or a one (possibly two)-year contract after this year.
The Stars NEED to be buyers in the goal scoring market as they are likely to face Detroit and/or Anaheim in the playoffs. An on-track Detroit is a machine, and the only way to attempt to secure a chance of beating Anaheim is to be able to attack them with more than one line.
My only qualification to the above is that I honestly believe NO ONE can come to Dallas as a rental player if Dallas has to give up draft picks to get them. I cannot recall Dallas picking in an upper round either of the last two entry drafts, and they do not have their Number 1 in '08 again.
So, in my opinion, look for a Winger coming to Big D by next Tuesday. The HOSSA sweepstakes may just be the ticket Dallas needs for a long Cup run...