The Dallas Stars have agreed to a new two-year, $3.8 million contract with RFA center Cody Eakin, who now signs in plenty of time to be ready and able to play in the season opener against the Chicago Blackhawks.
The deal will pay Eakin $1.5 million in 2014-15 and then $2.3 million next season for a total cap hit of $1.9 million each season. The deal falls in line with what many were ultimately expecting, especially after Jaden Schwartz signed a two-year, $2.35 million contract with the St. Louis Blues.
This is a very good deal for both Eakin and the Stars, who get a very good young asset at a great price while Eakin gets the chance to prove over the next two years he's worthy of another pay raise as he approaches free agency.
Eakin had been exercising his rights as a free agent and was not at training camp for the Stars, as the pending RFA and the team negotiated a new contract. Eakin has been a major piece of the Stars since arriving in Dallas two seasons ago in the trade that sent Mike Ribeiro to Washington, and is expected to be the centerpiece for what is supposed to be one of the better third lines in hockey this season.
The 23-year old center has played in 129 games for the Stars with 23 goals and 59 points, including 16 goals and 19 assists in 81 games last season. Eakin had played primarily second-line minutes the past two years but will anchor the third line this season after the acquisition of Jason Spezza this summer. Eakin, along with Ryan Garbutt and Antoine Roussel, had formed a rather effective checking line in the run up to the playoffs and will once again be expected to fill the same role this season as the Stars build a more balanced attack.
The trick will be how soon Eakin can re-join his team; as a native of Canada, Eakin will have to go through the work Visa process that could delay his getting onto the ice -- similar to the Jamie Benn situation from a few seasons ago.
Now, it's time to get Brenden Dillon signed.
Here's the press release:
Dallas Stars General Manager Jim Nill announced today that the club has signed forward Cody Eakin to a two-year contract. Per club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Eakin, 22, recorded career-highs in almost every statistical category during the 2013-14 campaign. He finished tied for fourth on the team with 16 goals and 35 points (16-19=35) in 81 regular-season contests. Eakin paced the Stars in faceoff wins and total faceoffs taken, winning 585 of the 1,223 (47.8%) draws he took this season. He also finished third among Dallas forwards logging an average 17:19 of ice time per game.
The native of Winnipeg, Manitoba made his Stanley Cup Playoffs debut last season, finishing tied for second on the Stars with five points (2-3=5), including one game-winning goal, in six postseason contests.
In three NHL seasons, Eakin has registered 67 career points (27-40=67) in 159 regular-season games with Dallas and Washington. He has also tallied 51 points (25-26=51) in 78 regular-season American Hockey League games with Texas and Hershey.
"Cody is a two-way, young forward who competes hard and has the ability to make plays offensively," said Nill. "He has just scratched the surface in terms of his development at this level and we are confident that over these next two years, we'll see him mature into an even more dependable and productive player."
The 6-foot, 190-pound forward was originally selected by Washington in the third round (85th overall) of the 2009 NHL Draft. Eakin was acquired by Dallas from Washington on June 22, 2012 in exchange for Mike Ribeiro and the 54th overall pick in the 2012 NHL Draft.