The Dallas Stars are in the midst of another excellent campaign in 2023-24, occupying the top spot in the Central Division and sitting just three points back of the Vancouver Canucks and Boston Bruins in the President's Trophy race.

As the squad gears up for another playoff run in 2024, adding another defenseman is at the top of general manager Jim Nill's NHL Trade Deadline wish list.

“We've got a solid 13 forwards up top already and then I know I've got a bunch of young guys down below. … Defense, you can never have enough defensemen. So that's something we're looking at. What's the cost of acquisition — what's the asset cost? That's what we're monitoring right now,” Nill told The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun earlier this week.

Nill believes the team can get even better, and adding another piece or two could go a long way in finding that next level come April.

“That’s why I don’t think we’ve reached our best performance yet. I still think there’s another level we can go to. That’s finding the balance between offense and defense. We’ve been a pretty dynamic team offensively, but we know if we’re going to have success in the playoffs we have to tighten up defensively,” the GM continued.

“Is that a little bit how we’re playing — our style of play — plus is it adding another player that can help fortify that also? So that’s what we’re looking at, a combination of both. We have to play with a little more accountability managing the puck, plus if can we add something to it, we’d love to.”

The Stars currently boast one of the better blue lines in the league, with Miro Heiskanen, Thomas Harley, Esa Lindell, Ryan Suter, Jani Hakanpaa, Joel Hanley and Nils Lundkvist on the back end.

But with Hakanpaa and Lundkvist as the only right-handed defensemen, Dallas is likely pursuing an upgrade on the right side. Enter Calgary Flames D-man Chris Tanev?

Stars continue to be linked to Flames' Chris Tanev

A pending unrestricted free agent, Tanev is likely playing his last few games in Calgary. The price for the stalwart veteran defender could be as much as a first-round pick, which the Stars still have in each of the next few upcoming drafts.

Besides Tanev, Nill has also inquired about Philadelphia Flyers rearguard Sean Walker and Arizona Coyotes defenceman Matt Dumba, among others, per LeBrun.

With $1.52 million available in salary cap space because of LTIR, some financial moves will have to be made in order to bring a player like Tanev, Walker or Dumba to Texas. But they could easily send down centre Logan Stankoven or D-man Derrik Pouliot — two players recalled on emergency loan — to make room.

It'll be intriguing to see if the Stars are able to land Chris Tanev, or another impact defenseman, ahead of the Mar. 8 NHL Trade Deadline.