Free agency is finally upon us. Though contracts cannot be officially signed/announced until 11 AM CDT today, many respected media members last night indicated that the Dallas Stars will sign center Joe Pavelski (San Jose Sharks) and winger Corey Perry (Anaheim Ducks) once the free agency period opens later today.
That’s a lot to take in, of course, for Stars fans.
Let’s talk about the easy one first. Pavelski’s reported contract is three years and is expected to carry a cap hit around $7 million or so:
Dallas Stars are hoping to add two veteran forwards. Pavelski expected to sign a 3 year contract with the Stars and it’s believed Dallas is also an option for Corey Perry.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) July 1, 2019
This is a very solid addition to the Stars forward corps. Though Pavelski is about to turn 35 years old, he’s been a consistency machine. In the last six seasons (since 2013-2014), Pavelski has posted 79, 70, 78, 68, 66, 64 points. In three of those seasons, he scored 30 or more goals (with 38 just this past season). He’ll easily be one of the highest scoring forwards on the Dallas team, and even if he’s declining, you can’t say this team couldn’t use at least one other 50+ point getter.
After all, Dallas’ offense has been, on the whole, atrocious the past two seasons. While the big four — Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, Alexander Radulov, and John Klingberg - have more than done their part, there’s not been much beyond those guys on a consistent basis. The addition of Pavelski, who has spent his entire career with the Sharks up until this point, should make the Stars a deeper team.
Pavelski should also help on the power play. He often played a net-front role for the Sharks, and Klingberg’s ability to put pucks towards the front of the net on the man advantage for tip-in chances could have the makings of a lethal power play unit.
Then there’s the Perry news. Reportedly, the contract for Perry will be one year at $1.5 million in base salary with some performance and playoff bonuses built into the structure.
Perry will be divisive among some Stars fans because of the reputation he has built over the last 14 years playing with the Anaheim Ducks. Particularly because of the spearing incident with Benn in the playoff series a few seasons ago:
Now, Perry will be on a team captained by Benn. Life comes at you fast.
Make no mistake, though — this is not Sean Avery 2.0 with this signing. (Arguably the most loathed player to ever don the Stars sweater in franchise history, if you were to poll Dallas fans.) First, Perry is, by all accounts, a very respected member of the community. Ducks ownership and management cited his character as one reason it was so difficult for the team to make the decision to move on from Perry this summer via buyout. He was described as a “compassionate and giving member of the Orange County community” by the Samuelis when they thanked him for his years of service.
Secondly, Perry has legitimate goal scoring talent. On a one-year contract, Perry will be motivated to prove that he still has some left in his tank. A motivated Perry will likely score a number of goals for Dallas — a definite area of need for the Stars these past two seasons.
What the rumors of Dallas’ addition of both Pavelski and Perry today signals is that the Stars recognize their window is now. This isn’t moving out contracts to go full-on youth movement and hope it works out (but likely try for a lottery pick). What the Stars have done over the last week is allow themselves the cap space and roster spots to add legitimate, proven scoring while allowing themselves the flexibility to add young forwards to the lineup that push for playing time.
There’s likely to be another depth signing or two today, and general manager Jim Nill has been known to pull a trade out of seemingly nowhere this time of year as well. (Maybe for a top four defenseman? That’s the last real piece on the shopping list unless they are confident Stephen Johns is ready to go this season after missing last year with post-concussion headaches.)
Here’s the latest rumors as reported by various hockey media members on twitter in the last 24 hours or so:
- Former Stars Mats Zuccarello (acquired at the trade deadline) and Ryan Hartman (acquired in trade last week and then not qualified as a restricted free agent by Dallas) are both rumored to be signing with the Minnesota Wild.
- Jason Spezza is reportedly heading to hometowns Toronto Maple Leafs on a one-year deal.
- It’s not super clear yet where Artemi Panarin ends up, but he’s reportedly received offers of upwards of $12 million a season. Crazy numbers. The New York Islanders and Columbus Blue Jackets appeared to be in a heated race to sign him late Sunday night.
- Sergei Bobrovsky appears to be headed to the Florida Panthers. Sticking with the goaltender carousel, Mike Smith appears headed to the Edmonton Oilers and Calvin Pickard is heading to the Calgary Flames.
- Richard Panik is rumored to be signing with the Washington Capitals.
- The Nashville Predators and Matt Duchene appear to be walking down the aisle towards a match.
- Luke Schenn reportedly is set to sign a near-league minimum contract to join the Tampa Bay Lightning.
- The Toronto Maple Leafs traded defenseman Nikita Zaitsev and forward Connor Brown with some lesser assets to the Ottawa Senators in return for Cody Ceci and some lesser assets.
- The Vancouver Canucks are reportedly backing up a lot of cash trucks for Tyler Myers.