As the summer closes in on the last entirely hockey-free month of the year (unless, of course, the CBA Armageddon deprives us of training camp), the restricted free agent list continues to dwindle with Dallas Stars center Jamie Benn still on the list.
Benn's next contract has been the subject of much conversation - will the Stars try to give him a James Neal style bridge contract to take him to just before the final year of restricted free-agency? Will they give him a big-money, big-term contract to lock him up through his prime? And will they make any move before the CBA is sorted out?
Well there's been no big news on the Benn front, but another player of his ilk avoided arbitration as T. J. Oshie agreed to a five-year, $4.175 million cap hit per season deal with the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night.
Oshie's deal will go into the file along with Matt Duchene's two-year, $3.5 million contract as possible comparables, though Evander Kane and the Winnipeg Jets are apparently also working on a multiple-year contract.
Now there are plenty of good reasons for the Stars to wait and see how the CBA plays out before signing Benn to his next contract. But Oshie's deal leaves Benn on the list of most talented RFAs left out there. Heck, if the Philadelphia Flyers don't end up getting Shea Weber, who knows who they'll go after next?
After the jump, Rick Gosselin gives his take on the Stars summer, Ray Whitney has a theory on 40-year-old players and funny of the intentional and unintentional variety.
- Rick Gosselin isn't really known for being a hockey guy, but in this paywalled column he explains even he understands what the Stars are going for with the signings of veterans like Jaromir Jagr and Ray Whitney. [DallasNews.com]
- Of all the acquisitions the Stars have made so far this offseason, Aaron Rome has received probably the smallest amount of attention. But the folks over at the Players Association website got ahold of him to talk about heading south. [NHLPA.com]
- Gemel Smith still has plenty of time to add some bulk to his 5-foot-10, 164-pound frame. But the recent draft pick already has the moxie of a much larger player. [DallasStars.com]
- Ludvig Bystrom might have signed his entry level contract, but he's likely to stay in Europe after the Stars assigned him to Modo of the Swedish Elite League. [DallasNews.com]
- The Stars in general, and Ray Whitney in particular, get a couple nice mentions in the always must-read 30 thoughts column. [CBC.ca]
- There was news on both sides of the Steve Ott for Derek Roy trade on Thursday. On the Stars end, Roy had a nice in-studio visit with Bob and Dan that we'll cover in depth later today. And on the Sabres end, Steve Ott (and his brand new hockey-hair flow) met the Buffalo media. [Buffalo News]
- The Shea Weber offer sheet is more than 24 hours old now, but it's still not clear what the next step is for the Nashville Predators. Especially not after Weber's agent said he'd rather play for the free-spending Philadelphia Flyers. [The Tennessean]
- I've never stolen a sheep modeled after one of the Hanson brothers from Slap Shot. But I'm pretty sure that if I ever did, I wouldn't post a picture of the thing on Instagram with the caption "Just stole a sheep." [Puck Daddy]
- After the guys from Down Goes Brown with their examination of the NHL's first offer in the CBA negotiations, Todd from Thursday Morning Cupcheck dove even deeper in to the document. [Thursday Morning Cupcheck]
- But the real comedy for today goes to this article that Brad linked on Twitter. It's far too good to miss for those of you who might have been waiting in line some comic book movie or something when Brad sent it out. [OurHometown.ca]
- Okay, time for some full disclosure before the video. I'm a volunteer Wish Granter with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, so stories like this are near and dear to my heart. And so no, this wish involving Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals that was aired on Thursday on ESPN doesn't have anything to do with the Stars. But it does have gratuitous Idaho Steelheads mentions, so I'm calling it close enough.