Free agency has yet to officially begin, but the Dallas Stars have reportedly landed their very first important piece to the Stanley Cup puzzle.
As Sean Shapiro of The Athletic confirmed, the Dallas Stars have an agreement with Joe Pavelski for 3 years, an average of around $7 million. Sadly, Pierre LeBrun reports that the Minnesota Wild will sign Zuccarello, fan favorite, to a 5 year deal with an AAV of $6 million. The chaos of free agency has already begun before it officially begins with a flurry of reports coming from across the league. Despite losing Zuccarello, the Stars made the smart move in retaining Pavelski as he will actually be able to contribute more offensively to the Stars.
The biggest complaint last season had to do with the lack of offensive production and the lack of players going to the front of the net. Pavelski brings that to the table and will be able to screen and tip pucks in generating much easier offense for Dallas. He alone does not solve the offensive woes for the Stars, but it certainly is a good first step. The young AHL forwards now will have less pressure to step up as their role will not have to be as significant for the NHL team, giving them more time to grow. Roope, Benn, Seguin, Radulov, Dickinson, Pavelski most likely will comprise the top 6 for the Stars with the question marks coming on that fourth line.
Losing Zuccarello is painful for fans as he was an instant fan favorite. He was loved by all, but, paying 6 million a year for 5 years for a 32 year old forward AND also surrendering a first-round pick, is a very high price to pay especially with the expansion draft coming up in a few years. Consider the following, if Zuccarello gets a no-movement clause in his contract with the Wild, and presume the Stars offer the same deal to him and he chooses Dallas. The Stars would be forced to protect him in the expansion draft.
So, the list of players the Dallas Stars would have to and most likely protect, only allowing seven forwards, three defensemen, and one goaltender or eight skaters and one goaltender. Roope, Benn, Seguin, Radulov, Zuccarello, Dickinson, Miro, Lindell, Klingberg, and Bishop. Leaving one forward open. The issue here is that by the expansion draft time, you would be forced to protect 4 forwards who are over the age of 32. Likely, this would force the Stars to leave one of their younger players exposed and with the nature of a salary cap league, that would be a painful loss for the team. As painful as it is for the fans, it was the right decision.
The chaos continues, Corey Perry, one of the most hated men in Dallas, will be joining the Dallas Stars according to Frank Servalli. Perry will sign for 1 year, $1.5 million with performance bonuses. Now, the hate for Corey Perry among all Dallas Stars fans is well documented and well deserved. However, Dallas has lacked the last few years that player who can get under the other team’s skin. The deal is a cheap, short term deal. If it doesn’t work out, Dallas can easily walk away from this contract and will be a movable expiring contract if needed.
However, if Perry is healthy, he has the talent and ability to contribute to this team. All of the reasons Dallas fans hate him can become the same reason to love him for he will take those things fans hate and use them for the good of the Stars. Adding toughness to the team will be a boon for the Stars. If Perry doesn’t stay healthy, simply walk away from him by either trade or waive and the cost is not great. This is the classic low risk, high reward situation.
All of the reported moves for the Dallas Stars should make fans happy, even the Corey Perry move, for it signals one thing about the organization: They are going for it. There is a belief that this team is ready to compete for a Stanley Cup this year.
Dallas is confident this is their year, after coming so unbearably close to obtaining the ultimate goal last year, the pieces are falling into place for this team. The Stars have pushed all their chips into the middle and are ready to risk it all and that should get the fans excited and hyped for the upcoming season.
Featured Image: Conor Ryan, Masslive.com. AP Photo/Steven Senne