The Dallas Stars knocked another thing off their post-season to-do list: sign rookie forward Denis Gurianov to a new contract. The deal, worth an average of $2.55 million for the next two years, is more of a bridge deal for the young player. It’s slightly higher than the projected contract Evolving Wild had for him (a 2-year deal worth $2.1 million), but not by much.
Gurianov will be a restricted free agent at the end of this contract, and is probably banking on building off of his playoff performance for a higher value long-term contract at that time. His regular season was up-and-down, at one point being assigned back to the Texas Stars of the AHL. When he returned, Gurianov stayed for good after finding more time and space for himself at the NHL level.
Though his advanced metrics make him a statistical darling, the coaching staff struggled to get Gurianov more minutes down the stretch of the regular season. Some of that was because the Stars had a tendency to put themselves into penalty trouble and Gurianov is not a mainstay on the penalty kill. Some of it also was that his shifts tended to be shorter, which means that over the course of the game, his total minutes looked less because five seconds here and there add up.
Gurianov's a good example of how rookies sometimes operate outside The System. pic.twitter.com/Z2WLqmgv0Y— Corey Sznajder (@ShutdownLine) October 22, 2020
In the playoffs, Gurianov really started to shine. He scored nine goals and 17 points in 27 postseason games, the most goals scored by a rookie in the playoffs and second-most by a Dallas Stars player. It wasn’t just the number of goals he scored, though. Gurianov scored a number of clutch goals to turn the tide of games in favor of the guys in Victory Green.
With Gurianov signed, Dallas has about $4 million to sign Roope Hintz, the only restricted free agent left without a new contract. Most projections put Hintz’s deal somewhere closer to $3 million per year on average, which shouldn’t be an issue for the Stars to get under the salary cap ceiling.