With the NHL season officially ending over this past weekend, teams around the league will now quickly transition into full offseason mode. The Dallas Stars made their first major move of the summer by placing Aaron Rome on unconditional waivers, and will now turn full attention towards addressing another concern on the team: depth at center.
Part of that plan included a formal offer on a contract extension for veteran center Vernon Fiddler; who has reportedly declined the offer and will now officially test the free agency waters.
DAL made an offer to pending UFA C Vern Fiddler but it was rejected. Stars believe Fiddler is going to UFA. #TSN— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) June 16, 2014
Vernon Fiddler was made contract extension offer, but declined and will test free agency. No other UFA offers.— Mike Heika (@MikeHeika) June 16, 2014
The Stars, even with Fiddler, were likely to be one of the major players in the search for a No. 2 center to help balance the depth for the team up the middle. With Fiddler's apparent impending departure, however, the Stars will now need to fill not one -- but two center spots on the roster for next season.
It's likely that the contract term was the issue here, although that's purely speculative at this point.
While there were some frustrations at times with Fiddler, overall he was an effective player when placed in the right situations who provided some big moments and heroics with the Stars over the past three seasons. His shootout goal against the Nashville Predators remains one of the best moments of the past few years and we'll be sad to see him go.
There are options aside from free agency, however, as the Stars have a couple of players in Cedar Park to help out in the bottom six. As it stands, however, Tyler Seguin and Cody Eakin are currently the only players on the NHL roster who played regularly at center last season. Shawn Horcoff can play center (who played much better at wing this season) as well as Rich Peverley -- whose future in the NHL is still uncertain.
Chris Mueller played center on the fourth line during the postseason and has played well during the playoffs for the Texas Stars, and while Radek Faksa has looked much better since his arrival in Cedar Park he's still a year or so out from being NHL ready.
Is this Scott Glennie's chance?