Stars Send Matt Fraser, Reilly Smith, Joe Morrow to Bruins in Huge Trade

Probably my favorite picture of Matt Fraser ever, just after he scored his first pro goal. (Credit: Ron Byrd/Texas Stars)
So much for a vacation. The Dallas Stars made a blockbuster trade today with major ripple effects down into the minor leagues. Dallas acquired centers Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley and defenseman Ryan Button from Boston in exchange for wingers Loui Eriksson, Matt Fraser, and Reilly Smith along with defenseman Joe Morrow.

Matt Fraser and Reilly Smith have been big contributors in Texas over the past two and one seasons respectively. Obviously the loss of the all-time leading goal scorer in Fraser and one of the team's top points-per-game producers in Smith is a pretty rough one-two punch. However, there is talent coming along the pipe, some of which was previewed such as Brett Ritchie.

In the end, the Texas Stars primary purpose is talent development. While most of the time it is nice to see that talent develop and then stay in the system, seeing that talent leave the system is also a positive sometimes. Matt Fraser, an undrafted free agent, has matured into a player that dominates the AHL level and has a crack at the NHL level now, perhaps in Boston. The Bruins saw what he did in Cedar Park and put a value on that, hence his inclusion in the trade. Again, it's a tough hole to fill, but the Stars hope to see players such as Ritchie step up into that goal scoring role.

In my opinion, the loss of the scoring from Fraser and potentially Smith, in the case that he would have made the AHL roster instead of Dallas, makes secondary scoring even more important for the team. Mike Hedden should be a priority for the Texas Stars in the coming days. The two sides have been having talks.

Also gone in the trade is Joe Morrow, who saw action in all but one game after his trade to the Dallas system. Morrow has now been traded twice in four months. It seemed like the performance he had in Cedar Park did not match expectations of him. The Stars received Ryan Button on the blue line in his place. Button was a third round pick in 2009 by Boston. He played in the WHL, mostly with Prince Albert, but also seeing time in his final season with Brenden Dillon and the Seattle Thunderbirds. Kirk Luedeke, who covers Boston prospects, had this to say about Button: "Mobile shutdown, bottom-pairing guy, real good character. Has the tools to be more, could just never apply them."  Button spent some time in the ECHL over the past two seasons and has yet to tally a goal at the AHL level but has 3 points.

Reilly Smith (Credit: Grand Rapids Griffins)
Finally, yes, there are a lot of people who are going to be upset about the Texas Stars losing some top talent and getting what seems like to them a rather meager return. However, the number one goal of the Dallas Stars organization is to win a Stanley Cup. Players on the roster are all tools in the GM's toolbox to get there. When a trade comes across the table, the work that the Stars have done to develop players can help make those AHL players valuable pieces in the trades. Those trades make the Dallas Stars better and move them closer to the Cup.

To say that this wasn't a good deal for either side isn't a fair analysis. Boston gets scoring wingers, including the centerpiece of the trade for them, Loui Eriksson. Eriksson is a big scorer in his prime or perhaps just past who can help the Bruins right now. Dallas gets two centers, which immediately shores up that position, and allows them to move Jamie Benn back to his natural wing spot.

If you want to try and make the argument that Jim Nill doesn't care about the minor league team, take a look at the Grand Rapids Griffins, which were under Nill's management this season. They just won the Calder Cup. It's an argument that doesn't hold water.


  1. Grand Rapids was a poor AHL team when Nil was with them. I wanta say since 2006 they made the playoffs 4 times. They did win this year but Nil was in Dallas in charge of an AHL team that got their butts handed to them in the second round. I might be nit picking but that's the way it is.

    We all know that Dallas is the big club but that doesn't make me feel better about the fact we shell out good money for tickets to see what is left over after the prime talent has been moved to Dallas or shipped elsewhere. I mean is it to much to ask these guys to multitask and not pee on the fans in Cedar Park? I could see if the trade was for that "one guy" that they needed to win the cup but that isn't this trade.

    I won't say its a bad trade for Dallas but it has the potential to be a bad trade for Dallas given they are into Seguin for 1.5 mil a year more per year and for three more years than they were into Eriksson. If Smith or Fraser break into the NHL (which I think both can)this deal turns into a big win for Boston. Additionally the only value Dallas got out of it was Seguin and if something happens to him it's a jailbreak win for Boston.

    BTW how can you say Fraser (and or Smith) now have a better chance to crack the NHL lineup? You think it will be easier for them to crack the lineup on a Stanley Cup team than a team that hasn't made the playoffs in so many years? I don't see that. I think the fans in providence are smiling ear to ear on this.

    I just bummed at this.

    1. To be fair, Nil was hired after the AHL playoffs were underway. Nil had nothing to do with the rosters, at the time, except watch. As it is mentioned in the article, Dallas's main concerns are winning a Stanley cup and the development of their draft picks so that they can move up to Dallas or flip them for other players.

      Does it suck losing Fraser and Smith who were doing well in CP, absolutely. But, they weren't able to translate that success up in Dallas. Yes, I know that they didn't spend a lot of time up there. So yeah, I believe they will be able to get 3rd or 4th line minutes in Boston, in time. If not, they will do well in the Providence like they did here for Texas. In the end, it is all just a business.

      But the good news is that it's not the end of the world. Dallas has a good cupboard of prospects that are already in Cedar Park plus all the ones that will be here in the next few years. More will come, and more will go.

    2. The Dallas Stars trade with Boston obviously leaves the Texas Stars worse off than they were before. But what about earlier in the year when Dallas made several trades that did the exact opposite? Dallas traded Morrow, Jagr, and Roy (all NHL players) for Morrow, Connauton, Payne, and McDermott, as well as several draft picks that will likely end up further populating the Texas Stars in the future.

  2. Actually those trades were done by previous management (anonymous) so it's hard to attach them to this management. I've just com to the conclusion I hate the Dallas Stars. They are so lost and awful they drag everything down, Nil is just throwing around money now, I don't think his moves this year were all that good. Two guys who are paid higher than the franchise player and both with issues that have red flag going up everywhere.

    I know it's the "correct thing" to say we have talent in the system on the way to cedar Park but I disregard all that because so do other teams.


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