Marty Turco's solid play making it hard to think of trading him

MIKE HEIKA / The Dallas Morning News

Editor’s note: Here are some selected questions from Mike Heika’s Q&A with Stars general manager Joe Nieuwendyk. Read the full Q&A in Sunday’s editions of The Dallas Morning News and on

Joe Nieuwendyk is in his first year as Stars general manager and is preparing for his first NHL trade deadline March 3. The Stars are 28-21-12 and in ninth place in the Western Conference. They are one point out of a playoff spot and 9-4-1 in their last 14 games.

Nieuwendyk made his first big trade last week when he acquired goalie Kari Lehtonen from Atlanta for top prospect Ivan Vishnevskiy and a fourth-round draft pick. Now, the Stars have three goalies, including veteran Marty Turco, who can become an unrestricted free agent in the summer and might be traded at the trade deadline.

Staff writer Mike Heika sat down with Nieuwendyk during the two-week NHL hiatus for the Winter Olympics to ask him about the season, his team and the trade deadline:

Could your last 21 games be your best 21 games of the season?

NIEUWENDYK: The key is goaltending. I mean that’s how it is for every team. I do think it has been difficult to read our team at times, because it has been difficult to read our goaltending. But if you look at the last stretch of games, what are we, 9-4-1, I think we have been good as a team and I think our goaltending has been good, and I do think that’s what the potential is here when you get good goaltending. I think you can see the team playing for one another and believing in one another. I can see that.

OK, you brought it up. How do you handle your goaltenders down the stretch?

NIEUWENDYK: Well, I really do believe a key to our good play lately has been that Marty has been playing well, and when you have that blanket back there, it just makes everyone feel more relaxed. So, then, to talk about trading him, that’s difficult right now.

But you do have to talk about it. Don’t you? He’s an unrestricted free agent in the summer, and you could lose him and get nothing in return.

NIEUWENDYK: Well, to be honest, I see it as a good problem to have. He has made it difficult for us to consider a trade, because he has played so well. I’m glad he has, because he’s a competitor and he’s got a lot of pride. It’s terrific not only for him, but for us that he’s played this way. That makes the decision tough for us, but we’ll hopefully make the right one when it comes time.