As NHL teams wrestle with the COVID-era challenges facing them, Free Agency 2020 promises to be a uniquely fraught time. But GM Jim Nill and the Dallas Stars plan to approach the issues in the methodical way they approach pretty much everything.
One of the first items on Nill’s to-do list is settling Rick Bowness’ future with the organization. A meeting to discuss making Bowness’ interim status permanent was delayed for all the best reasons – but Nill hasn’t changed his mind about keeping Bowness as bench boss, reports Stars senior staff writer Mike Heika:
In regards to Bowness returning, Nill has been clear that he made his mind up in the playoffs. The 65-year-old coach has been mostly an assistant in his long career, but he returned to being a head coach for the first time since 2004 and had a great experience this year. Bowness said he would take time after the season to make his decision, and Nill said the two will probably meet soon.
“I’m very comfortable with Rick Bowness being our coach,” Nill said Thursday. “These are his players now. That’s the type of relationship he has, and as far as I know, he wants to come back, and we’ll move forward with that.”
As for roster decisions, Nill believes that most of what the team may need already exists within the organization:
“Something that’s forgotten in all of this is we started 1-7-1, but after that we had one of the best records in the NHL,” Nill said. “If you look at our record from November to February, our record was as good as anybody in the NHL. So this wasn’t a one-and-done situation - we had a good team.”
Because of that, Nill sees this being a good team with minimum changes going forward. Bring back a coaching staff that learned a lot about itself and installed important changes to spark some goal-scoring after the pause. Rely on a group of defensemen that tallied 67 points in 27 playoff games - the second most in NHL history. And allow a veteran forward group led by Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, Joe Pavelski and Blake Comeau to get a boost from a young group that includes [Roope] Hintz, [Denis] Gurianov, [Joel] Kiviranta, [Nick] Caamano, [Jason] Robertson and [Ty] Dellandrea.
There’s more at Mike’s place. [Dallas Stars]
You’ve read Tyler’s recap from yesterday’s press conference – here’s how Sean Shapiro wrote it up for The Athletic.
How extensive was the Stars' injury list? It was finally unveiled today, and the full list is absolutely jarring.@seanshapiro & @SaadYousuf126 fill you in on the ailments as well as Dallas' ongoing negotiations, Rick Bowness' status, and... Julius Honka?https://t.co/YmfBoCcBXy— The Athletic Dallas (@TheAthleticDFW) October 8, 2020
So now you know for sure why Tyler Seguin seemed like a more muted version of himself during the Stanley Cup run.
Tyler Seguin sustained a torn labrum in his hip during the postseason, GM Jim Nill says.— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) October 8, 2020
He is exploring options for possible surgery, which could carry a recovery time of four months. pic.twitter.com/RYJz3kdZ1u
The Stars’ front office has an all-clear to spend to the cap. Does that mean rumors of a salary dump may be exaggerated? Matthew DeFranks discusses.
Stars notebook: Management given permission to spend to the salary cap; no buyouts for Dallas https://t.co/oHxElLvBSY— Matthew DeFranks (@MDeFranks) October 8, 2020
I’m just gonna leave this here again, because Julius Honka.
• Nill was asked about defenseman Julius Honka and he has spoken with his agent. Said Honka wants to come back to Dallas and it's something the team and agent plan on revisiting after the dust settles from Free Agency.— Owen Newkirk (@OwenNewkirk) October 8, 2020
Around The Leagues
A flat cap, a revenue gap, and a lot of uncertainty: Welcome to free agency during the COVID-19 pandemic.
With NHL free agency opening at noon ET on Friday, plenty of teams are tight against the salary cap or an internal budget, and the economic outlook is uncertain, @cotsonika writes.https://t.co/qg6zh98ErN— NHL.com (@NHLdotcom) October 9, 2020
Did the St. Louis Blues send Alex Pietrangelo a “Baby Come Back” meme with their latest offer? There’s still no deal, but his departure may not be a foregone conclusion.
INSIDER TRADING: #TSNHockey Insiders discuss...— TSN Hockey (@TSNHockey) October 9, 2020
Latest on Alex Pietrangelo on the eve of #FreeAgentFrenzy
Could the #Flames circle back on TJ Brodie?
WATCH : https://t.co/jY8bGtQEDJ pic.twitter.com/k6rqXxHcNC
The goalie market is pretty well stocked this year, but Tuukka Rask prefers not to be part of it. The Boston Bruins starter offers his first interview since leaving the Stanley Cup bubble.
Tuukka Rask wants to remain a Bruin https://t.co/fh7CFPmE16— Boston Herald (@bostonherald) October 8, 2020
Is the bubble format the greatest legacy of the 2020 playoffs? Iowa’s Waterloo Black Hawks have taken a cue from the big leagues for their training camp – and it’s working.
Also at THN: The NHL season could start on the day usually reserved for the Winter Classic.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said the league and PA have targetted Jan. 1 as a start date for the 2020-21 season. What does that look like? Short-term bubbles? Reduced schedule? An all-Canadian division? My blog. https://t.co/MDCdWFccmM— Ken Campbell (@THNKenCampbell) October 8, 2020
Mr. Game 7 is hanging up his skates. In one of many highlights in his long career, Justin Williams helped make the Carolina Hurricanes the “bunch of jerks” you love to love.
Looking back, it’s clear how much of an impact Justin Williams had on the Hurricanes. Now the players he influenced will pay it forward by teaching the lessons they learned from one of the best. https://t.co/nZg3UnjI0J— Canes Country (@CanesCountry) October 8, 2020
Greetings From Beautiful Boise
The Idaho Steelheads’ home arena is getting a new name, a (literal) new coat of paint, and some new upgrades.
Washington Capitals first-rounder Hendrix Lapierre grew up with an Alex Ovechkin Fathead on his wall. Ovie couldn’t let that go with comment. Enjoy.