On Thursday the Dallas Stars announced their first big move of the off-season the re-signing of Esa Lindell. It is a 6 year, $5.8 AAV for the young defensemen who now will be Dallas for the prime years of his career and will be an integral part of the Stars success in the future.
There are have been some people who think this is was an overpay by the Dallas Stars, but the majority certainly understand this was a great deal for Dallas.
Over the past 3 years, Lindell has increased his games played, goals, assists, and points. This past season he did not miss a game. This is not an injury prone 28-year-old getting a 6-year extension. It is a durable 25-year-old defenseman who Jim Montgomery has the utmost trust in for Lindell was always on the ice for the penalty kill and was an integral part in shutting down Tarasenko in the second round. He is only going to get better from here. Dallas has also now secured a tight future with their top 3 defensemen in John Klingberg, Miro Heiskanen, and Esa Lindell.
Dallas has secured their top 3 forwards now, but the questions now circle around how you round out their defensive pairs. Roman Polak, Ben Lovejoy, and Taylor Fedun are all free agents this off-season. Jamie Oleksiak is the only other defenseman on the roster for the NHL team. The interesting question is how will Jim Nill and Jim Montgomery choose to fill out the spots. An opportunity is there for some of the younger guys in the AHL, Gavin Bayreuther, Dillon Heatherington, and Benjamin Gleason being the ones who would be the safest bets to potentially make the NHL roster next season.
Dallas was able to ride their youth to an impressive playoff run this season. The success of this past season could help shape how they handle this off-season. Jason Spezza moving on from Dallas could be the first signal of the organization’s desire to get younger and embrace a youth moment. It is unlikely Dallas will re-sign the trio of Polak, Lovejoy, and Fedun, but could potentially retain one of the three. Ben Lovejoy would most likely be the choice to re-sign on a short term deal due to his excellent ability on the penalty kill and his veteran leadership on the team.
The Stars will need to beef up defensively should they lose Polak as their lack of physicality The re-signing of Lindell helps solidify the defensive core for Dallas, but how they fill out their defense will be key in their success next season.
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