“We are pleased to have reached an agreement with Karlis Skrastins on a two-year contract,” said Nieuwendyk. “He is coming off a solid season with the Florida Panthers, and he is a proven NHL veteran that brings durability, experience, leadership, toughness and stability to our group of defensemen.”
- Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk
Skrastins is a solid defenseman, with good size and good skating ability. He's been a journeyman of sorts, spending time in his career with Nashville, Colorado and Florida. This past season was possibly his most complete, with the 2003-04 season in Colorado being his best statistically (82 GP, 5G, 8A, +18). Stars fans should be familiar with Skrastins, since he was part of the Avalanche teams that were consistently beating Dallas in the playoffs a few years ago.
It's a good price for a defenseman who will provide a much needed veteran presence on the team, which Mike Heika equips to a Mattias Norstrom type player. Don't expect anything flashy or amazing from him. What you will get from Skrastins is a defenseman that makes few mistakes, eats up a lot of minutes and is a great candidate to help the young defenseman learn and grow as they become more experienced.
Unfortunately this may mean the Stars do not re-sign Sergei Zubov, although it's still possible at this point.
[UPDATE by Brandon Worley] Mike Heika mentions in the comments section at the DMN Stars blog that the signing of Skrastins should not affect the re-signing of Zubov, although it most likely means that Sydor is officially gone. Again. He also says that the Stars will most likely play Vishnevskiy in the AHL for the first few months of the season, get him used to playing the role of the #1 defenseman before making the jump to the NHL.
Follow the jump for Karlis Skrastins' information and stats, and the Dallas Stars press release.
Dallas Stars General Manager Joe Nieuwendyk announced today that the club has signed free agent defenseman Karlis Skrastins to a two-year contract, worth $2.75 million ($1.1 million in 2009-10 and $1.65 million in 2010-11).
"We are pleased to have reached an agreement with Karlis Skrastins on a two-year contract," said Nieuwendyk. "He is coming off a solid season with the Florida Panthers, and he is a proven NHL veteran that brings durability, experience, leadership, toughness and stability to our group of defensemen."
Skrastins, 34, skated in 80 games for Florida last season, collecting four goals and 14 assists for 18 points with 30 penalty minutes. His assist and point totals in 2008-09 were both career highs. He led the Panthers with 171 blocked shots, ranking ninth overall in the league in that category.
The 6-1, 210-pound defenseman has skated in 679 career NHL games with the Nashville Predators, Colorado Avalanche and Florida Panthers, posting 27 goals and 88 assists for 115 points with 313 penalty minutes. He also appeared in 20 career Stanley Cup Playoff games, all with Colorado in 2004 and 2006, recording three assists and 12 PIM.
Originally drafted by Nashville in the ninth round (No. 230 overall) in the 1998 Entry Draft, Skrastins holds the NHL record for consecutive games played by a defenseman - 495 straight games from February 2000 through February 2007.
A native of Riga, Latvia, Skrastins has skated for his country at the 2002 and 2006 Winter Olympic Games, and has appeared in the World Championships on nine occasions, most recently 2009.
Jul 09, 1974 (34 yrs old)