The Dallas Stars continue to lock down their restricted free agents, coming to terms today with Philip Larsen on a two-year contract that will pay the young defensemen $900,000 in the first year and $1.15 million in the second. Larsen became a surprise staple on the blue line for the Stars last season, taking advantage of an injury callup to stake his claim on the starting defense for the Dallas Stars.
While his offense still hasn't fully translated to the NHL, Larsen showed a willingness to play aggressive and physical that allowed him to blossom defensively. Larsen will be a starting defenseman again this season and could find himself in a top four role to start the season. While Larsen played at times with Alex Goligoski last season, he was also very effective Trevor Daley as well.
Overall, it's a good contract for the budding defenseman both for the team and the player and a good sign to see the Stars able to keep a promising young player at a good price.
The Stars also made a bit of a surprising decision today, agreeing to terms with Maxime Fortunus on a one-year contract. With the Texas Stars seeing an influx of young talent it was thought that Fortunus could be pushed out; it seems the team thinks it will be important to have a veteran player on the blue line -- especially if Brenden Dillon is in the NHL. Fortunus might not have made it to the NHL, but he's had a very good career in the AHL and it's good to see him stick with the organization.
Press release after the jump.
Frisco, TX - The Dallas Stars announced today that the club has agreed to terms with defenseman Philip Larsen on a two-year contract through 2013-14 worth $2.05 million ($900,000 first year; $1.15 million second year). They also agreed to terms with defenseman Maxime Fortunus on a one-year, two-way contract.
Larsen, 22, skated in 55 games for Dallas last season, earning 11 points (3 goals, 8 assists). His plus-11 rating was tied for the lead among Dallas defensemen. Earlier last season, The Esbjerg, Denmark native scored his first career NHL goal, becoming the first Danish-born blue-liner to accomplish that feat since Vancouver's Poul Poupiel in 1971-72. In total, Larsen has played 63 NHL contests over parts of three seasons, earning three goals and 11 assists for 14 points. Of players that have skated with the Dallas Stars in each of the last three seasons, he is one of only four skaters who has earned a cumulative plus-10 rating or better (+13).
The 6-foot-0, 183-pound defenseman competed in this year's IIHF World Championship where he earned two assists in seven games for Denmark. He also posted a team-leading 23 shots in the tournament, and had the highest time-on-ice per game of anyone on Denmark's National Team (25:05).
Fortunus, 28, has spent the last three seasons with the Texas Stars and appeared in eight NHL games with Dallas during the 2009-10 season. Last season with Texas, Fortunus appeared in 60 games and collected six goals and 14 assists for 20 points.
The 6-foot-1, 190-pound defenseman from La Praire, QC has appeared in 501 AHL games over the course of nine seasons, notching 42 goals and 110 assists for 152 points. Additionally, Fortunus has collected 26 points (6 goals, 20 assists) in 85 AHL playoff games.