The Stars signed Aaron Rome to a three year deal last offseason with the thought being that he would provide the Stars with solid depth for a reasonable price. In his first season with the club he did that. Those two extra years are going to be a bit tricky, though.
Where does Rome fit in the organization going forward? With eight defensemen currently on the NHL roster and several near NHL-ready prospects in the AHL Rome seems like an unnecessary luxury.
This isn't to say Rome can't play. He can. He has proven to be solid, if unspectacular, in his own end. He chipped in very little offensively, but he wasn't paid to bring offensive punch. He was paid to provide veteran depth in the case of injury. He made the impact he needed to make in 2013.
He can still make the same impact in 2014, but the landscape is significantly different. The Stars added Sergei Gonchar and Kevin Connauton to the mix while subtracting the dainty Philip Larsen. Jamie Oleksiak and Patrik Nemeth have full professional seasons under their belts. He appears to have a tenuous hold on a roster spot barring some other move.
It isn't out of the question to think the Stars could move another defenseman. Rome's contract is affordable which could make him a useful piece for Jim Nill to keep around. If the Stars do end up keeping eight defensemen on the roster for any significant length of time the ice time for the guys at the back end of the roster will be sparse. Spreading out the ice time appropriately enough for any individual in the Stars four through eight defensemen to make a significant impact will be difficult for new head coach Lindy Ruff.
Rome could be a consistent member of the lineup in a bottom pairing role, or gone before the end of training camp via trade if the Stars decide they don't want to keep eight defensemen on the roster. At this point it is anyone's guess as to how the defensive rotation will shake out.Given the uncertainty, Rome fits in low on the list of 2014 Dallas Stars capable of making a significant impact.