It’s been a busy opening week for NHL free agency, and the Dallas Stars have done their part to create some excitement. Now that the dust is settling – or is it? – it’s time to start making sense of it.
Mike Heika doesn’t take summer vacations as we know them, and this week’s #HeyHeika is bubbling over with fan questions. The Stars’ senior staff writer dove right in with this burning query: “Why did the Stars pay Joe Pavelski $7 million per season for ages 35-38 of his career instead of Mats Zuccarello $6 million per year for his ages 31-36 seasons?”
The Stars loved what Mats Zuccarello added to the team and would have surrendered the first-round pick in 2020 (moving up from the third-round pick that already is going to the Rangers) if Zuccarello would have agreed to a four-year deal. He wanted five, and he eventually got that from Minnesota, so he made the right decision. The Stars also feel they made the right decision, as they have longer term contracts coming up for Miro Heiskanen, John Klingberg and Roope Hintz and they did not want to clog up an extra year (and now they save two years).
I believe they actually found a player who will be more impactful than Zuccarello. Yes, Pavelski is turning 35, but he takes incredible care of himself and he plays a game that should age well. He’s a center who can play wing, and that makes him more versatile, and he is a tremendous leader. The former captain of the San Jose Sharks leads both by example and with his words and actions, and I think that’s going to be a great fit for the Stars.
Will the Stars make any more moves? It depends on their situation when the season begins:
My guess is they could be in the market for a top-four defenseman at that time. The two things that could prevent that is if Stephen Johns is healthy and playing well or if Andrej Sekera returns to the top-four form he showed in Edmonton and Carolina.
The problem with the LTIR situation is it puts the Stars over the salary cap. When the Stars are over the salary cap, any bonuses slide to the next season. That means that if they exceed the cap with a deadline deal trade and players like Corey Perry and Sekera earn their bonuses, the Stars could be tighter against the cap in 2020-21.
Heika also thinks Jere Lehtinen may finally enter the Hockey Hall of Fame conversation, which is like red meat to the fan faithful:
Now that Guy Carbonneau is in, Lehtinen definitely can be a comparable. Take to Twitter and bang the drum. I think the Stars retiring his number helps a great deal in that cause.
There’s more at Mike’s place. [Dallas Stars]
Stars forward Jason Dickinson has filed for arbitration in the wake of his best NHL season to date. Matthew DeFranks writes about what to expect.
The Stars’ Stanley Cup odds were 30/1 before free agency, so 20/1 is a measurable uptick.
Updated odds to win the 2020 Stanley Cup (BetOnline):— Odds Shark (@OddsShark) July 2, 2019
If you’re the kind of contrarian who just can’t wait to own a Corey Perry sweater in Victory Green, The Hangar has your number (which is 10, as it turns out).
I’ll just leave this here.
Around The League(s)
Mike Sullivan has signed a four-year deal to remain the Pittsburgh Penguins’ head coach, but he had some unfinished business to take care of first.
Now that the Sebastian Aho shoe has dropped, will Mitch Marner or Jacob Trouba be the next to receive an offer sheet?
Some of the NHL's best, young players are available (technically...) https://t.co/jJQoneHjFE— Hockey Night in Canada (@hockeynight) July 3, 2019
That clock is still ticking.
"It sounds like one team is very close to going through with it."— Sportsnet 590 The FAN (@FAN590) July 5, 2019
- @TheFourthPeriod on a potential Mitch Marner offer sheet, w/ @RusicSN590 & @Steve_Dangle on Sportsnet Today. #Leafs
On-Demand/Podcast: https://t.co/PlaMkhxdfV pic.twitter.com/ckuOyluKGl
What do you suppose is Jordan Binnington’s case for salary arbitration?... He leads a list of 40 RFAs who have filed.
Forty NHL restricted free agents filed for salary arbitration before the deadline at 5 p.m. ET on Friday, including Blues goalie Jordan Binnington, Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba, Devils defenseman Will Butcher and Flames forward Sam Bennett.https://t.co/VRoZaovaPA— NHL.com (@NHLdotcom) July 5, 2019
Who’s still available on the UFA market for blueliners? Ben Lovejoy and Dion Phaneuf are on the list of notable names.
The defensive UFA class was bare to start with, but with Jake Gardiner and Ben Hutton still available, it's not fully dried up. Here are some of the best options still on the market heading into the weekend.https://t.co/oEkXtNdPdq— The Hockey News (@TheHockeyNews) July 6, 2019
The Stars are trending up in the NHL fantasy rankings. Find out where they landed after this week’s moves.
Greetings From Scenic Cedar Park
The Texas Stars Foundation is seeking grant applications. Tell your favorite Central Texas charity.
Attention Nonprofits! Apply today for a #txstars Foundation Grant. The application is available until August 2, 2019.— Texas Stars (@TexasStars) July 3, 2019
To learn more, follow this link!
And in case you missed it, they’ve also posted their first six guaranteed games – including three of their most popular theme nights.
If July 4 is Tyler Seguin Day, then July 5 belongs to Alexander Radulov. Happy birthday, Rads.