Simply based on the free agent profiles so far (two forwards and one defenseman) it shouldn’t come as any surprise that the Dallas Stars should absolutely be focusing on depth scoring this offseason. The Stars finished with just nine goals in their goal differential, which was good enough for the top of the bottom half of the league. Their goaltending was Vezina-worthy, but they couldn’t buy a goal for the better part of the season and into the playoffs.
Richard Panik is a pending UFA most recently signed with the Arizona Coyotes, where he had a decent year on a disappointing team with 14 goals and 33 points. This total on the Stars, by the way, would have had him tied for fifth in points with Miro Heiskanen, and fourth in goals behind the top three of Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, and Alexander Radulov.
While playing second-line minutes for the Coyotes, Panik drove possession and shot rates while on the ice.
Another thing to like about Panik is that he’s likely to be a cheaper option up front that still has good production. Matt Duchene, profiled previously, is likely to make bank on his next contract (rumors are Tyler Seguin money), while Panik’s most recent contract, his highest paycheck of his career, was $2.8 million. It’s unlikely that he would command more than $3.5 million on the open market.
His inconsistency in his play almost saw him on the trading block for the Coyotes this past season, and so far no team has wanted to invest long-term in him.
He had a positive Corsi percentage (50.2%), despite having mostly defensive zone starts. He’s versatile on wing, has played both sides, and could be a good option for the Stars’ second line. He doesn’t solve all of the Stars’ problems, but he definitely solves some of them, and at a good price tag.