Scratch a name off of the Dallas Stars' unrestricted free agent list.
Dallas announced Wednesday morning that they have signed forward Ryan Garbutt to a three-year contract extension, but the terms of the deal have not been disclosed or yet reported.
Remaining are Ray Whitney, Stephane Robidas, and Vernon Fiddler - All thought, excepting the injured Robidas, to be potential trade targets post-Olympics.
Garbutt has played his way up the lineup this season, settling in a pseudo-second line role with Cody Eakin and Antoie Roussel, and as Jim Nill remarks here, it's his commitment to speed and tenacity that earned him a sizable extension here.
"Ryan has shown that he is an effective, hard-hitting forward that plays the game with a great deal of speed and tenacity," said Nill. "Over the course of the season, he has earned the trust of his coaching staff and has played himself into a role where we ask him to play against our opponent's top players on a nightly basis. It's a great credit to the work he has put in and we're excited to have him signed."
So it appears that the Stars, like many of us, see a Ryan Garbutt as a prototypical checking-line forward of the future, once a, perhaps, more appropriate "second line" situation is worked out in the off-season. He's someone who they feel can withstand tough minutes against good competition and push the pace of the game with offensive contributions of a frequency typically matching that role.
With Fiddler coming off the books next season Garbutt will likely see his penalty kill time, currently just 1:17 per game. Another factor in increasing his penalty kill time and responsibility: Not being the one in the box. Garbutt has shown himself to be a viable weapon with that speed, but his 23 minors this season are top-twenty in the NHL.
His ability to find the right side of that line (and the price tag...) will be what makes this a good signing or not in the long run.
[UPDATE: PROHOCKEYTALK.COM IS REPORTING GARBUTT'S DEAL IS THREE YEARS AND A TOTAL WORTH OF $5.4 MILLION (AVERAGE CAP HIT OF $1.8 MILLION). /UPDATE]
For now, put up your feet, Garbs, and stay a while.
The release from the Stars:
Dallas Stars General Manager Jim Nill announced today that the club has signed forward Ryan Garbutt to a three-year contract extension. Per club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Garbutt, 28, has posted a career-high 18 points (10-8=18) in 46 games for Dallas this season. Amongst team leaders, he is third in hits (81), fourth in shots (105), and sixth in both goals (10) and plus/minus rating (+4). On the season, he has set new single-game career highs in points (3, two times, Nov. 26 vs. Anaheim, 1-2=3; Jan. 15 vs. Edmonton, 1-2=3) and shots on net (8, Dec. 1 vs. Edmonton).
In his third NHL season, Garbutt has recorded 31 points (15-16=31) in 102 regular season games, all with Dallas. He has also appeared in 115 career regular season American Hockey League games, with Chicago and Texas, registering 70 points (35-35=70).
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