Denis Gurianov has had quite a year. From doing time with the Texas Stars to a blistering performance in the Dallas Stars’ run to the Stanley Cup Final, the 2015 first-rounder has gone from having more demotions than goals to becoming both a statistical darling and the big team’s leading scorer.
Now the Stars have ticked off one of the last big boxes on their postseason to-do list by securing the speedy Russian’s services for the next two years. As expected, at $2.55 million AAV, Gurianov has earned himself a tidy raise. Meanwhile, the team has given him room to grow into an even better deal the next time he hits restricted free agency – when, hopefully, the world will have moved on from the COVID-19 crisis and the uncertainty it brings.
It sounds like a good deal all the way around, and that’s because it is. The Athletic’s Saad Yousuf looked at a convenient comparable, coincidentally sealed on the same day, to drive the point home:
Gurianov’s deal, which comes on a day the Vancouver Canucks agreed to an identical contract with 24-year-old forward Jake Virtanen, helps both him and the organization. It helps the Stars by keeping the cap hit lower; after this deal, Dallas has about $4.1 million in cap space remaining. They also still get to maintain control in 2022, when Gurianov will again be a restricted free agent. His base salary will be $2.2 million in 2020-21 and $2.9 million in 2021-22, and so his qualifying offer from the Stars would start at $2.9 million the next time he reaches the market.
For Gurianov, the money is fair and the two-year term allows him to build on a strong start to his NHL career. He’ll then reach free agency at a time when the league and the world will hopefully be rebounding from COVID-19 and trending in a more stable direction financially.
But will he get the time on ice he needs to stay on his ascent trajectory? Yousuf sees plenty of reason to think he will:
Perhaps the only thing Gurianov’s season will be remembered for more than his goal-scoring or electrifying playing style is his well-documented struggle to earn consistent ice time. Gurianov was last in 5-on-5 ice time among Stars forwards who played at least 30 games, something Bowness attributed to the Russian’s inexperience. Gurianov has that under his belt now, and his newly raised salary reflects what should be a higher level of importance on the roster. Factor in losing forwards Mattias Janmark and Corey Perry to free agency as well as an uncertain recovery time for Tyler Seguin as he rehabs from a torn hip labrum, and Dallas will need more goals. Gurianov has proven he’s capable of doing that, both at even strength and on the power play, but that can only happen if he’s on the ice.
There’s more behind the paywall. [The Athletic DFW]
The Stars seem pretty, pretty pleased with themselves after yesterday’s job of work.
Meanwhile, The Hangar’s postseason sale has gone online, so here’s your chance to look for that Gury shirsey you’ve been promising yourself.
If you missed last week's in person sale now is your chance to take advantage online at https://t.co/0vPHN2tIev— Stars Hangar (@StarsHangar) October 23, 2020
Get Up to 50% OFF on Select Items!
Use Code STARSSALE25 to Receive 25% OFF All Regularly Priced Merchandise
(Excludes: Item of the Day & Game-Used Categories) pic.twitter.com/Rd018tFQjB
Around The Leagues
The NHL is still planning to open its season on January 1 – but its traditional January marquee events will have to wait
Steve Mayer: "We are also considering several new and creative events that will allow our fans to engage with our games and teams during this upcoming season.” https://t.co/YH90X7rcju— Nick Cotsonika (@cotsonika) October 22, 2020
Naturally, this is a big hit for the Minnesota Wild, who have been planning their Winter Classic for...well, all their lives, practically.
“The NHL has given us every indication that the Winter Classic is coming to the State of Hockey and Target Field when it is safe to do so and our fans can fully embrace it. We look forward to that day.” - #mnwild President Matt Majka on today’s 2021 Winter Classic news— Minnesota Wild (@mnwild) October 22, 2020
As it turns out, the Anton Khudobin re-signing was probably one of the less dramatic goalie outcomes of the offseason. Matt Larkin ranks them, from Cam Talbot to Henrik Lundqvist.
The goalie carousel has almost stopped spinning. Time to rank all the major crease acquisitions of the 2020 off-season to date:https://t.co/iM7yMrKadN— Matt Larkin (@THNMattLarkin) October 22, 2020
And because it’s never – never! – too early to start thinking about the next NHL Draft, Ryan Kennedy has already put out a watch list rich with blue-ribbon blueliners.
No Peter and Paul Stastny? No Tie and Max Domi? No J.P. and Zach Parise? No Keith and Matthew and Brady Tkachuk?...
From the Hulls to the Howes to the Hextalls, who has been your favourite father/son duo in hockey? https://t.co/lRLI4eCiyI— Hockey Night in Canada (@hockeynight) October 23, 2020
Sometimes you can’t avoid getting politics on your sports. Sandworm, the Russian GRU unit that hacked elections, was also responsible for the 2018 Winter Olympics sabotage.
The U.S. Justice Department said it has indicted six Russian intelligence agency hackers for a four-year long hacking spree that included attacks against the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics and 2017 French elections https://t.co/0OVQa73riR pic.twitter.com/yLt2OiAZZH— Reuters (@Reuters) October 19, 2020
I’m just gonna let y’all discuss this one amongst yourselves. Enjoy.