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Forward Targets For Stars in Free Agency

Who are the top forwards worth signing in free agency?

NHL: Washington Capitals at Dallas Stars Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

When you look at the forwards available in free agency this season, there’s.....not a lot out there. Alexander Radulov is by far the most dynamic offensive target out on the market - and there’s not guarantee he leaves Montreal, either. He’d also be incredibly expensive and probably command a lot of term on his deal, so I’m not sure how much of a fit Radulov would be in Dallas (though they have the cap space if the winger is tempted to bring his talents to Big D.)

No free agent signing this summer will blow your socks off outside of Radulov, most likely. It’s unfortunate that the Dallas Stars do need some right wing help, with Patrick Sharp and Ales Hemsky set to be free agents.

So who could the Stars target? Let’s look at three big names.

Justin Williams “Mr. Game 7”

Williams may be the most attractive forward on the market that is the most attainable for the Dallas Stars. Being on the other side of 35, Williams won’t be looking for much in the way of a long-term deal. He’d be an ideal fit on the Stars for a two year deal riding shotgun with Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin.

He has the veteran experience and playoff experience valued by front offices, and that Dallas does not have a ton of on their roster as it stands today. Additionally, he’d serve as another weapon on the power play, another area that could use some sprucing on the roster (it ranked 20th in the league last season at a 17.9% conversion rate).

Not to mention, Williams put up nearly 50 points last season in Washington playing in 80 games in the regular season. He’s been fairly durable as he’s aged, too, so it’s a less-risky signing than other forwards on the market today. However, his age means that he could fall off the production cliff at any moment. If the Stars can sign him to a reasonable two-year contract between $3 and $4 million, it could be a great fit for a team that is in win-now mode.

Nick Bonino

Not a name that Dallas has been associated with in the media (which probably means general manager Jim Nill is working his stealthy magic), Bonino is not exactly what Dallas needs but could fit here.

He’s a center, a position that Dallas has depth in. However, what Dallas doesn’t have a lot of depth in is penalty killing forwards that are effective. He could be a great bottom-six center and pk specialist in Dallas.

It’s been speculated that Bonino has priced his way off the Pittsburgh Penguins roster, and he’s limited his teams down to three teams. Dallas has the cap space to fit him, and Bonino is one of the younger free agents on the market worth the investment, if they can sell him on a role in Dallas.

Patrick Sharp

Everyone knows what Sharp brings to the table in Dallas already. He’d be good for the power play. He’d fit nicely next to a Benn-Seguin duo or on the wing next to Jason Spezza. He’s not going to command a lot after his injury-plagued season last year, and could be looking for a “show-me” contract kind of year.

However, he did have season-ending hip surgery (as one does in Dallas, it seems) and might not be ready to go when training camp starts. The big question mark with Sharp is his age and recent injury and whether Dallas feels like taking a flier on him to see if he can be the Sharp of Chicago days gone by.

Considering what else is available, signing Sharp may be a “devil you know” kind of move.