The Nils Lundkvist trade was one that could very well work out for both sides. The New York Rangers get a second first-round pick in 2023 and Dallas gets a young, right-handed skilled defenseman with the potential to grow into a top pair guy for many years to come. The Rangers may not have seen Lundkvist blossoming in the Big Apple, but so far in his time in Dallas, that is exactly what he has done.
"He's jumped in with two feet,” Pete DeBoer said. “There's no tentativeness. He is incorporating what we want to do but not where it affects his game, how aggressive he plays, and how gapped up he is. That's how you want everyone to embrace changes we are trying to make."
In three preseason games, Lundkvist has tallied two goals and shown plenty of flashes of his offensive potential. Do not get me wrong, there is work to be done, especially on the defensive end. But with this trade, the Stars hoped to replace the departed John Klingberg, and Lundkvist seems to be the perfect guy to do that down the line. Plus, with his shot, power-play vision, quickness, and agility, it looks like he will be beneficial to the team from day one, something that was very much in question.
“I think it’s going to be a good addition for us here,” Jani Hakanpaa said. “He has been really good in the games and I feel like he is going to be really valuable for us this year. It has been fun to watch, seems like a really nice guy too. We’re getting more Swedes in so…I don’t know about that.”
For Lundkvist, his focus remains on learning the new system under Pete DeBoer. The new structure is fast-paced and unlike what many Stars players have seen before. Once learned, however, it is likely the perfect system to bring out the best in their highly-skilled defensemen, Miro Heiskanen, and the new kid in town.
“We are trying to learn a new system here, it’s a bit different than what I am used to,” Lundkvist said. “It’s coming. Some mistakes here and there but I am trying to be calm with the puck and make some plays. They really want the D to be on the rush and be active and I think it fits my game well. I hope I can be a little more consistent and build from that.”