For the first time in the last several years, the Dallas Stars are headed into free agency with a chance (and the checkbook) to make a big splash.
But with the collective bargaining agreement up for renegotiation and the salary cap structure likely to change at least somewhat, there is an air of uncertainty over exactly what might be the smartest moves. The CBA doesn't expire until September, well after all the key UFAs will sign their new deals, but there is a danger that the cap might drop or otherwise hamstring teams with big salaries in an attempt to reign in some of the free spenders.
The Stars posted a good article about the approach to the FA period on their website. While the quotes from general manager Joe Nieuwendyk were things we've seen before, the story added some interesting comments from president Jim Lites about the business end of the offseason.
"The systems will likely change, but for planning purposes, you got to work in this system for this year," Lites added. "It does complicate things in the extent that any contract you sign this year is going to carry over into a new system, which will likely have a change in at least the overall expenditures, potentially, and you have to take all of those things into consideration when you’re developing a roster and plans for the future. You got to be careful. It’s better to be in a situation like the one we’re in, where that flexibility gives us an opportunity that other teams might be fearful of, where they may have spent on a player that gives them no flexibility and they have to dump. You’re better off waiting to see where everybody else is and then you make your move. Nobody wins next year’s Stanley Cup in July. The obvious thing not to do is to repeat mistakes other teams have done, where they’ve gone out and spent to the cap and they didn’t get the assets they needed to build."
After the jump, a look back at Alex Chiasson's season, the Thursday Morning Cupcheck takes on Brendan Shanahan and the best phrase uttered on a hockey telecast in a long, long time.
- I'm not sure I would classify Wednesday's playoff games as without some of the idiocy that's characterized the first round so far, but Tim Cowlishaw seemed to feel that way in this paywalled column. [DallasNews.com]
- Mark Stepneski is catching up with some of the top prospects that jumped to the pros at the end of last season, and Alex Chiasson was next on his list. The big winger was part of a very interesting season with Boston University before coming to the Texas Stars right at the close of the season. [ESPN Dallas]
- Todd over at the Thursday Morning Cupcheck offers his take on Brendan Shanahan and the post-season discipline parade. And while he is right that this isn't any materially different than the past several years other than the volume, I think the difference for me is two fold. The first is that we were promised Shanahan would be different. And the second is the volume - if it's one or two incidents a playoffs, then it can be overlooked. But with so many, I absolutely understand why people are confused. [Thursday Morning Cupcheck]
- Michael Neal, younger brother of Pittsburgh Penguins winger and charging specialist James Neal, is no longer under contract with the Stars, but he has started to find his game in the ECHL playoffs.[Idaho Statesman]
Flyers defenseman Nicklas Grossmann has been a pretty solid presence this post-season, but he is probably out for Game 5 with the not-admittedly-a-concussion upper-body injury. [CSN Philly]
- Brenden Morrow has filmed a PSA for the "You Can Play" campaign that advocates for acceptance of all types on hockey locker rooms, and founder Patrick Burke is very pleased with how his project has gone so far. [The Hockey News]
- The San Jose Sharks playoff collapse is well underway, and Patrick Marleau is starring as the symbol of all the reasons why. [San Jose Mercury News]
- "Ping ponged in the ding dong" might be the greatest phrase ever uttered in the history of professional sports television. [Puck Daddy]
- We had the story on Mark Fistric being part of an ice-cream fundraiser in the last links post, and the Stars were kind enough to post video of the event. First of all, I love any shop owner who gives the professional athletes the harder work. And second, holy biceps, Batman.