Mathematically, the Dallas Stars were one of the most active teams on the first day of NHL free agency, spending $6.5 million for the next two seasons and $1.5 million three years from now on Ray Whitney and Aaron Rome.
But the nature of those signings - a high-scoring but aging winger and a physical bottom-six defenseman - caused some consternation among the fanbase.
After the Stars deals for the day wrapped up, general manager Joe Nieuwendyk addressed the media (including DBD's own Brandon Worley, who provided these quotes) and told everyone that this is far from a finished product.
I wouldn't say we're finished yet. We'll continue to take a look in the coming days. There's a lot of teams that are saying the same thing, that there's a long summer ahead...possibly bleeding into September.
One of the big questions that still remains is who will be the second-line center. While Steve Ott has jumped in and out of that role, he seems to be a faceoff-taking wing in the current alignment, and there is no other player on the roster who's even sniffed second-line center minutes at any time in the NHL. And Nieuwendyk recognizes that the middle of the ice poses some difficulties with this roster.
It's an area of concern, there's no question. We've converted Jamie Benn into a center and we have Cody Eakin who has just 30 games of NHL experience. We'll keep an eye on it always and look to improve the position but if we had to start today with the players we have, yeah, I think we're comfortable. There will be options and choices down the road that present themselves as well.
After the jump, reaction to the Stars signings (and non-signings), other moves around the league that include some now-former Stars and an unfriendly comparison to Eric Lindros.
- The first two sentences of this paywalled story from Mike Heika describe perfectly how many Stars fans felt after Sunday. Bravo on the analogy, Mr. Heika. [DallasNews.com]
- We will have more on all the Nieuwendyk comments as the week goes on, but for the moment, here's Heika's wrapup of the discussions. [DallasNews.com]
- Scott Burnside over at ESPN seemed to think the Whitney signing was a good one for Dallas, and he also got a few quotes from the Stars coaching staff on the move. He also reiterates how Whitney, at least ideally, will help the Stars woeful power play. [ESPN]
- And Steve Hunt takes on the idea that the signing runs counter to the preached youth movement. I do think he has something there. Two years allows for the youngsters to get their feet wet at low-risk, high-reward positions in the lineup like the third and fourth lines rather than forcing them into a spot they are probably not ready for quite yet. [Fox Sports Southwest]
- The guys over at ProHockeyTalk called the Rome move "just another signing" for a fair bit of money, but need I remind you that even marginally competent defensemen are much more expensive than you think they should be. [ProHockeyTalk]
- Personally, I think Greg over at Puck Daddy nails the upside of this deal with this one line: "But hey, a collection of NHL-ready defensemen is a good problem to have, and $1.5 million for Aaron Rome isn't a bad investment." [Puck Daddy]
- Free agent day giveth, and free agent day taketh away. As the Stars added two new pieces, they said goodbye to a pair of pieces that were low-cost positives over the past few season, both of whom went to divisional rivals. The first was defenseman Sheldon Souray, who proved he could still play in this league during his one-year contract with Dallas. He signed a three-year, $11 million contract with the Anaheim Ducks. I understand the Stars reluctance to give him three years, and the length makes our friends over at Anaheim Calling very nervous. [Anaheim Calling]
- The other subtraction was Adam Burish, who read this free-agent market perfectly and got a four-year, $7.2 million contract from the San Jose Sharks. I understand the Stars passing on both of these contracts, and I hold no grudges to either player taking them. Both were great additions to the Stars for short periods both on and off the ice, and I'm glad to have had them here. [San Jose Mercury News]
- The second biggest fish in the defensemen free agent pool, Jason Garrison, quickly found a new home as he signed a six-year, $27.6 million deal with the Vancouver Canucks. [The Province]
- There were only two giant fish in this free agent pool - Zach Parise and Ryan Suter - and both are still looking for new homes. The scuttlebutt late Sunday was that Suter was waiting on Parise (and that Matt Carle was waiting on Suter). [ESPN]
- Signings roundup! Jordin Tootoo to the Detroit Red Wings (ick to both parts) for three years, $5.7 million. P.A. Parenteau to the Colorado Avalanche for four years, $16 million and Sami Salo and his injury bug to the Tampa Bay Lighting for two years, $7.5 million. Yes, I know there were more. But a links girl has to sleep sometime. [MLive.com/Daily Camera/Tampa Bay Times]
- The Anaheim Ducks GM is not a very happy bunny about the Justin Schultz situation, but he does raise a good point. The idea of allowing a drafted rookie to refuse to sign a contract and essentially suffer no consequences from it other than having to wait until a certain age to move on seems silly. If the draft is indeed going to be this binding entity, then perhaps those that refuse to sign could become restricted free agent like their other young brethren rather than unrestricted. [Puck Daddy]
- If you want a preview of several topics on the site this week and coming up throughout the summer, you can check out the entire Nieuwendyk press conference here, courtesy of the official site.