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2009 NHL Free Agency: The Dallas Stars' situation

With free agency starting tomorrow, here is a rundown of the current status of the Dallas Stars' roster and projected free agents. The Dallas Stars made qualifying offers to restricted free agents Mark Fistric and Aaron Gagnon yesterday before the deadline, meaning that John Lammers becomes a UFA along with Chris Conners and Tobias Stephan (who are both classified as Group VI free agents).

Pending UFAs: Sergei Zubov, Jere Lehtinen, Brendan Morrison, Darryl Sydor, Steve Begin, Joe Lundqvist, Landon Wilson, Mark Parrish, Chris Conner (Group VI), Tobias Stephan (Group VI), John Lammers (not extended qualifying offer.)

Pending RFAs:  Mark Fistric ($715,000 offer), Aaron Gagnon ($522,500 offer)

Salary cap space: $14.7-$17.3 million (Mark Stepneski has the current cap hit at $42.1 million; Cap Central has it at $39.5 million.)

Projected budget: $43-$46 million (estimated); the salary cap is set at $56.8 million.

Key needs: The most dire need the Dallas Stars must fill is the lack of depth on defense. The Stars could re-sign Sergei Zubov, but if that doesn't work out then the team desperately needs a top pairing defenseman to take the pressure off Stephane Robidas and provide a much needed veteran presence on the blue line. Darryl Sydor was serviceable last season, but it's obvious he's nowhere near the player he used to be. The Stars need not just a veteran, but a talented veteran who still has the ability to perform at a high level.

The possibility of sending out Trevor Daley, Mark Fistric, Nicklas Grossman, Matt Niskanen and Ivan Vishnevskiy with only Robidas as the most experienced veteran on the team is daunting. While all the young players are very talented, last year we saw exactly why a player like Zubov is needed.

If Jonas Gustavsson decides not to sign with Dallas, then the Stars will have to make signing a backup goaltender their first priority. Marty Turco played a career high 74 games last season, and coincidentally had a career-worst 2.81 GAA and .898 save percentage. Turco needs to play 55-65 games to be at his best, and needs a solid backup goaltender behind him to not only spell him regularly but push him as well. It's also worth noting that Turco will be a UFA next summer.

Greg Wyshynkski from Puck Daddy has a nice run down of the top goalie free agents on the market.

It's doubtful the Stars consider signing any forwards via free agency, other than re-signing their own.

Potential targets: D Jay Bouwmeester (in dreams, most likely), D Jordan Leopold, D Patrice Brisebois, D Mike Komisarek, D Anders Eriksson, D Francois Beauchemin, D Alexei Semenov, D Nolan Baumgartner, G Ty Conklin, G Dwayne Roloson, G Manny Legace, G Jason Labarbera G Manny Fernandez, G Craig Anderson, G Scott Clemmensen, G Kevin Weekes

What our rivals want:

The Kings are hoping to sign Marian Hossa and have a lot of space under the salary cap to work with. [Battle of Cali]

The Sharks are going to do their best to re-sign Alexei Semenov and are looking at needing to sign nine players (seven minimum), with just $10.474 million dollars available under the cap. [Fear The Fin]

The Ducks have unloaded Chris Pronger on the Flyers for a king's ransom, and are facing the prospect of losing Scott Niedermayer as well. [Battle of Cali]