The Dallas Stars are reportedly looking for a top six forward to fit on a line with Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn:
One way they can fill that role is looking for it on the open market in free agency, which opens Wednesday at 12 PM EDT / 11 AM CDT. After looking at some of the forwards expected to hit the market, here are three that I think fit the needs of the Stars and could fit into the salary range they are working with.
Obviously, there are a number of free agents that would be clear upgrades to the top six but are likely to command top dollars in the open market. With projected cap space more in the $3 to $5 million range given the need to re-sign Jake Oettinger and Jason Robertson to new contracts, barring any other move outs of cap space, these could be beyond Dallas’ reach. These free agents would include the likes of Johnny Gaudreau, Nazem Kadri, Claude Giroux, Andre Burakovsky, David Perron, Ryan Strome, Valeri Nichushkin, and Ondrej Palat.
There are two forwards I think Dallas could target for a middle six role that can fit their needs and possibly be in the range salary-wise that Dallas could have available to them.
Target 1: Dylan Strome
The Chicago Blackhawks are not extending Strome a qualifying offer, making him an unrestricted free agent. Though he plays center, the 25-year-old forward has one quality that the Stars are lacking: playmaking ability.
Dylan Strome will reportedly not be tendered a qualifying offer, making him an unrestricted free agent.— JFresh (@JFreshHockey) July 10, 2022
He's an interesting option, a solid playmaker with efficient shooting who can drive play well. Played difficult second-line minutes. Worth a look for sure. #Blackhawks pic.twitter.com/tGGCYGjbYX
With the way that hockey is starting to lend more towards position-less forward play, I think the whole “Dallas has a lot of centers already” thing is secondary to acquiring a player with a skillset that could help unlock the second line’s offensive capability. (Also, center depth is always something you can’t have enough of.) After all, that was what Alexander Radulov brought to the line when Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin were the most effective.
Strome made $3 million last year and scored 22 goals and 48 points with Chicago while playing second line minutes. His salary likely fits in with what Dallas has to work with on the salary cap front.
Target 2: Nino Niederreiter
There’s still some question as to whether the Carolina Hurricanes even let Niederreiter hit the open market. But if he does, this would be a veteran forward with a lot of experience that Jim Nill has tended to favor in the past few offseasons. That experience could go a long way to fitting into the middle six in Dallas.
Niederreiter is known as a two-way forward, and he plays the game with some grit. His underlying numbers show a player that drives offense — according to Natural Stat Trick, Niederreiter had a CorsiFor% of 58% last season while being on ice for nearly twice as many goals scored for as goals scored against.
Last season, Niederreiter scored 24 goals and 44 points and led the Hurricanes in goals scored in the playoffs (four through 14 games played). Niederreiter is coming off of a five year deal that carried a cap hit of $5.25 million a season. Carolina likely wants to re-sign a key part of their offense, and after trading Tony DeAngelo to the Philadelphia Flyers, they should have the cap space to make his next contract work. But if he gets to Wednesday, he’d be an interesting fit in Dallas.
Who would you want to see Dallas target as a forward in free agency?
Who is your top forward free agent target for the Dallas Stars?
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