The news that Charlie Huddy had signed on with the Stars as an assistant coach didn't exactly generate 20-point headlines outside of Dallas. Still, this stands to be one of the most impactful bench acquisitions of the offseason -- and might end up being more important to the club than the hiring of head coach Marc Crawford.
After eight seasons in a similar role in Edmonton, Huddy will be tasked with developing Dallas' promising, but very green, defense corps. With All-Star (yeah, I double-checked) Stephane Robidas as the group's only legitimate veteran, the struggling Stars are counting on rapid development from Matt Niskanen, Nicklas Grossman, Mark Fistric and Ivan Vishnevski, the former first rounder who should benefit the most from the repatriation of former Star Sergei Zubov.
That's a handful for any coach, but Huddy's biggest challenge could be stabilizing Trevor Daley. As he approaches his 26th birthday, Daley is the group's second-oldest vet, but he remains a frustrating presence. No one doubts his talent -- he has speed to burn and has evolved into a reliable penalty killer -- but his occasional offensive forays showcased the maddening inconsistency that led former coach Rick Wilson to keep him on a short leash. For every highlight reel-worthy dash, there were a half dozen marred by inopportune timing or a rash decision with the puck (usually a shot off the glass). If Huddy can mold him to the point that the reward justifies the risk, Daley could emerge as a breakthrough player ... and ensure the team's true greenhorns have a little less responsibility heaped on their plates.