In a bit of a shocking development, the Anaheim Ducks decided today not to qualify pending RFA Mathieu Perreault. They did, however, offer him a new contract, but he has yet to accept it. This basically makes Perreault the second addition to the list of players we didn't expect to become available this summer.
Even though the Ducks are still hoping to sign the young center, this move seems a little strange. He's entering his prime at the age of 26 and has flashes of brilliance during his short time with the Ducks.
Despite his streakiness, it seems like it would be in the best interest of the Ducks to keep him, especially with their recent trade of Nick Bonino to the Vancouver Canucks. Maybe the money they'd have to give him in arbitration was the issue, but it doesn't seem like that would be the case since he'd only be making $2-3M.
That being said, this move adds yet another wrinkle to free agency as teams who are looking to solidify their secondary scoring could be interested. The Stars certainly fit into that category.
With all the talk of acquiring either Jason Spezza or Paul Stastny, Perreault might not be the big acquisition Stars fans are looking for this summer. That being said, making a huge trade for Spezza or handing out $7 Million dollars to Stastny for the next 7 years are definitely not Jim Nill's style. He has said time and again that he's interested in making the Stars a stronger organization for the present and future, but not at the expense of too many assets or financially hamstringing the franchise in years to come.
With that being said, a less blockbuster-y deal for a guy like Perreault seems like it's more likely to be in the cards. With 43 points in 69 games last season, Perreault seems like he could be a solid 2nd line center for the Stars. He suffered a bit because of depth both in Washington and Anaheim where there were centers who easily made the top six over him. Giving him more minutes and more offensive responsibility might be the perfect thing for him to hit his stride as he enters his prime.
On the other hand, if he doesn't work out on second line he would be a good addition to the team as a relatively consistent bottom-six scorer, something the Stars have lacked in recent years.
He's a young center who may be capable of playing on the second line next to Val Nichushkin or another forward the Stars might sign and, most of all, he'll be relatively cheap. With Jim Nill's insistence of not hamstringing this team financially for immediate help in mind, signing Perreault for ~$3M for the next few seasons rather than shelling out tons of cash for an over-the-hill big name player who will be getting paid based past performances seems to be well within the realm of possibility.