This past week saw the re-signing of two Dallas Stars, unfortunately, neither named Mats Zuccarello, but fortunately, they were very team friendly signings.
Mattias Janmark and Roman Polak will return to the Stars for another season on one-year contracts. Both players will play an important role in the upcoming season as the Stars will need the veteran leadership of Polak and the speed of Janmark to help navigate the regular season into the playoffs.
Both players do bring question marks admittedly, but realistically, this is a very low risk, high reward move by Jim Nill.
Jamark re-signed at $2.3 million and Polak for $1.75 million. Neither contract breaks the bank and still leaves plenty of room for the Stars to sign some big fish free agents, stares intently at Zuccarello. The Stars get solid, veteran players while also having the flexibility of being able to move the contracts if they need to should someone from the AHL take the leap forward to hold down an everyday spot on the NHL roster. Janmark also gets a chance to prove that he is worth the long term, big money deal. Health is his obstacle, but if he is healthy, his speed is deadly and can translate into the offensive spark the Stars need.
In Roman Polak, the Stars get the return of a durable, veteran defenseman who brings a level of toughness that the Stars desperately are still lacking on this team. It is most likely that Polak will play on the third defensive pair, with his partner potentially being Jamie Oleksiak to provide a beefy defensive pair for the Stars.
Regardless of where Polak plays, this was a good signing for the Stars because the status of Stephen Johns remains in the air and this is an insurance policy should Johns not be ready come to the start of the season. Polak and his helmet did have some brilliant moments last year on the defensive end of the ice. He had some defensive lapses where he simply got beat skating back last year, but that is expected from an advanced age defenseman. Ideally, his role will not have to be as significant as this past season because the Stars will not have a litany of injuries to their defensemen.
If one of the young guys that have been detailed previously make a step forward, these are two very movable contracts that can potentially provide the Stars with some additional assets that will help bolster the depth of the future for the team. Fans know Jim Nill is not afraid to trade fan favorites as was learned last year. Signing players to ensure depth, especially on bargain level deals, is never a bad decision.
The Stars have many question marks they will need to answer in this off-season and training camp. The development of the AHL players trying to make the roster can help answer those, but those are not guarantees. Janmark and Polak provide some certainty for the Stars to know what they will get out of these two players.
Featured Image: Tim Wharnsby, NHLPA.com