Dallas Stars Daily Links: Rating The Denis Gurianov Deal

The Stars work out a bridge contract that gives their playoffs hotshot room for growth. Plus, pandemic postponements for the Winter Classic and All-Star Weekend, indicting the Olympic Destroyer hackers, and more.

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]

Stars Stuff

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.

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I’m just gonna let y’all discuss this one amongst yourselves. Enjoy.