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Dallas Stars free agent watch: Joel Lundqvist

Joel Lundqvist

#39 / Center / Dallas Stars



Mar 02, 1982

Shoots: Left

Acquired: Stars' 3rd round selection, 68th overall, in the 2000 Entry Draft.

2008 Salary: $725,000

Status: Unrestricted Free Agent

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It was hoped that Joel Lundqvist would have had a much bigger impact this season. After spending the first five seasons of his career playing in Sweden, Lundqvist made a big splash when he transitioned to the Iowa Stars in 2006, scoring 16 goals and 22 assists in 40 games at the AHL level. That production never translated to the NHL level as he scored just six goals in 134 career games with the Stars.

He did have a great postseason in 2008, posting two goals and five assists in the playoffs last season and it seemed that he was back on the verge of breaking out for the Stars. But injuries early in the 2009 season derailed any consistency he tried to build in his game. Those injuries would nag him for most of the season and he was a healthy scratch many times even if he was healthy.

Lundqvist fits into the same mold the Stars liked in their forwards when they were drafting back in the late 90's and early 00's. Big, scrappy defensively minded players who had a knack for scoring a goal every now and then. Unfortunately, the Stars became bogged down with numerous players like Lundqvist in their system . With the franchise now looking to become more offensive minded, Lundqvist may find he doesn't have a spot in the team's future plans.

Right now, with several young Stars players making a big impact this past season and with other key veterans returning from injury in 2009, Lundqvist fits in only as a fourth liner at best. He will have trouble finding playing time as a top-nine forward and most likely will end up a healthy scratch most nights.

If the Stars see value in Lundqvist as a reliable extra forward who can step in and provide minutes on the fourth line when needed, but chances are the Stars will decide to move on. At this point, the Stars have other players who does what he can do best, and most likely will get paid less.