News Playoff Blog: ’07 deadline deal paying dividends for Stars in ’08

Trade deadline deals often take time to play out, usually because it’s a waiting game to see how prospects involved in swaps develop.

But in the case of the Dallas Stars, a move they made to acquire a veteran defenseman at the 2007 deadline is paying dividends this spring.

Former Los Angeles Kings captain Mattias Norstrom is averaging 21:06 of ice time per game in these playoffs, third-most among Stars defensemen behind Stephane Robidas and Sergei Zubov.

And while the big Swede has a pair of goals and five points through 12 games this post-season, his role on the Stars blueline is more akin to The Bible in the courtroom; he’s there to keep people honest.

Norstrom’s genuine love of smashing into things perfectly compliments the slick puck-moving skills of Robidas and Zubov at the top end of Dallas’ defense corps.

Incidentally, deadline deals have served as bookends in the 36-year-old Norstrom’s career. In 1996, he was coveted by the Kings as a 24-year-old blueline prospect when they sent three vets to the New York Rangers in a trade that worked out very well for the West Coasters.

Now that Norstrom’s career has come full circle, he and the Stars would love to see it finish with a ring.

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Not all goalies are created equal and in the case of the NHL’s final four, neither are the expectations of them.

No team makes the Cup final without fine puck-stopping, but if either Dallas or Philadelphia is to play for the big prize, you get the feeling a Marty will have to lead them to the party.

For the Stars and Flyers to win their conference final series, Marty Turco and Martin Biron will have to turn in some outstanding work to compensate for the talent discrepancy between their team and its opponent.

Conversely, Detroit and Pittsburgh have to feel as long as Chris Osgood and Marc-Andre Fleury provide goaltending that’s competent and never crushing, it should be enough to get them over the hump.

The less the Wings and Pens notice their goalies, the better.

Ryan Dixon is a writer and copy editor for The Hockey News magazine, the co-author of the book Hockey’s Young Guns and a regular contributor to His blog appears Wednesdays and his column, Top Shelf, appears every second Friday.

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