After years of work, and the occasional self-own, the Dallas Stars seem to have put together a defensive core that can run with the NHL’s elite. Which means, of course – of course – that the 2021 offseason has been rife with speculation about how it’s going to change.
The Minnesota Wild are going through some changes of their own – as evidenced by yesterday’s announcement that the team had bought out two longtime stalwarts, forward Zach Parise and defender Ryan Suter. Parise and Suter turned the Wild into near-perennial playoffs contenders, but couldn’t bring them all the way to the promised land of Stanley Cup glory. What’s next, now that they can sign with any team not named the Minnesota Wild?
For Suter...maybe it means joining his cousins in Big D. Before you say no, The Athletic’s Saad Yousuf would like to show his math, as he did in his latest post:
If the Stars pursue an outside option on defense, that means it’s a decision between whomever that defenseman is and pending unrestricted free agent Jamie Oleksiak. Esa Lindell is already handsomely paid, John Klingberg’s on a bargain for another year and Dallas must open up the checkbook for [Miro] Heiskanen in the coming weeks. Thomas Harley will likely claim a spot on the third pairing and the No. 6 defenseman role likely will go to the winner of a battle between a mediocre cluster. Re-signing Heiskanen and re-signing Oleksiak and bringing in a quality defenseman for the No. 6 role would result in too much money tied into the defensive core when the forwards group still has holes to fill.
Still, the existing top three, with Harley at No. 5 (or perhaps No. 4?), could make the Stars an especially stout group with the addition/re-signing of one more top-four defenseman. Dallas and Oleksiak have expressed mutual interest in keeping the marriage going but Suter’s availability should raise some eyebrows in the Dallas front office. Suter isn’t the player he once was but he still has some quality hockey left in the tank. Oleksiak charted considerably better defensively at even strength last season but both were similar on the penalty kill. According to HockeyViz, the Wild played him heavy minutes in high-leverage defensive situations, second only to Matt Dumba on the team this past season.
And since Suter will still get paid by Minnesota, the odds that he will take a discount to sign with a contender (like, uh, Dallas?) and help mentor its youngsters have probably gone up considerably:
Suter is 36 years old, past his prime, for sure, but still quite effective. Judging his effectiveness in relation to his contract in Minnesota makes his play look more disappointing than it actually is. As he continues to rake in buyout money from Minnesota, Suter’s tag won’t be as high. As a player past his prime, he would already be lower than Oleksiak’s price tag but his desire to capture the elusive Stanley Cup and the money from Minnesota may sink the tag even lower in return for a good situation. According to Evolving Hockey, Suter’s number could begin as low as $1.8 million AAV (on a multi-year deal) or go as high as $3.1 million on a one-year deal. Either way, the ceiling for Suter’s price tag will be lower than the floor of Oleksiak’s.
There’s more behind the paywall. What do you think? [The Athletic DFW]
It’s never too late to learn how to hockey. The Stars have a program for that.
Around The Leagues
What were the Wild thinking, and what do they expect to happen? Bill Guerin explains.
Bill Guerin had some strong words for the buyout situation, why he did what he did, and what it means for the future. https://t.co/h9IZAD7Kr2— Hockey Wilderness (@hockeywildernes) July 14, 2021
Congrats to Pekka Rinne on an unbelievable career! Had so much fun battling him over the years pic.twitter.com/ifmpkmyzUg— Joe Pavelski (@jpav8) July 13, 2021
LW Jeff Skinner, currently a Veteran Presence with the Buffalo Sabres, would not say no to becoming a sea monster.
Jeff Skinner has agreed to waive his NMC for the purpose of being exposed in the Seattle expansion draft, his agent, Don Meehan, told me.— Lance Lysowski (@LLysowski) July 14, 2021
Why did Keith waive his no-move clause? There’s a personal as well as professional dimension to that.
Duncan Keith says he saw his eight-year-old son Colton once during a five-month stretch this season because of border restrictions. Reflecting after a tough year, Keith decided to request a trade closer to Penticton, B.C., where Colton lives.— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) July 13, 2021
Life after hockey happens for every player – and former Blackhawk Brent Sopel wants to help others make the transition.
Met up w/ @brent_sopel in Tampa & learned he’s now selling solar energy — and hiring ex-hockey players to join him— Emily Kaplan (@emilymkaplan) July 13, 2021
”I’ve had many convos with guys that are lost. I wanted to start a family business & give back in ways that nobody has, or cares to” https://t.co/BzcMuf883D
Are you excited about Thomas Harley yet? Maybe this Texas Stars retrospective will help with that. Enjoy.