Wednesday marked the official start of NHL Free Agency and the annual smashing refresh on Twitter. The Dallas Stars made a splash on day one with the acquisitions of forward Mason Marchment and defenseman Colin Miller. Before diving into both, we take a quick look at the pieces from the previous season that are no longer with the Stars organization. (Or soon to be no longer with the organization.)
So long and goodnight
While this list may grow slightly, a few names will be sporting new threads when the puck drops on the upcoming NHL season.
Firstly, it comes as no surprise that Winter Classic hero Alexander Radulov is officially no longer part of the Dallas Stars. Nor the NHL for that matter. With just a few weeks left in the season, Radulov’s agent made it known that this would be the last hurrah for the electric forward as Radulov decided to likely end his playing career in the KHL. Radulov officially signed a 2-year deal with Ak Bars this week and will be going back home to Russia. It will be likely that Radulov will be able to flourish in his final years as the vast NHL experience will serve him extremely well in a slower-paced game overseas.
Another name added to the list is fellow Russian Vlad Namestnikov, who signed a one-year deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning for $2.5 million. Namestnikov scored 18 goals and 12 assists in 75 games with the Detroit Red Wings and Dallas Stars last season. At the price and with the acquisitions made on day one, it was likely the Stars would have liked to have had Namestnikov back on a much smaller payout.
As it was mentioned in my previous article, the Stars did not extend qualifying offers to Jordan Kawaguchi, Alexey Lipanov, and Colton Point. As it stands, we may not be seeing them back in the Stars organization moving forward. Additionally, centerman Joel L’Esperance has signed a two-year contract with the Grand Rapids Griffins.
Lastly, with the contracts of Jason Robertson and Jake Oettinger weighing in the balance, the return of John Klingberg is all but dead. In the current NHL cap era there just isn’t enough money to go around for the Stars to bring back Klinger for what he and his cap are asking. It is assumed that Klinger will be seeking a long-term contract with an annual AAV of no less than $6.5 million.
While this may be a heavenly song to some Stars fans, it is no doubt a major loss for the organization moving forward as Klingberg was a vital piece of the Stars’ power play during his time with the organization. It is yet to be seen or hinted where Klingberg will land and there are miracles that can still happen, but for now, it is safe to say that the Klingberg Era is officially over.
New Kids on the Block
The Dallas Stars needed a top-six scoring forward and they signed just that.
Mason Marchment is coming off an impressive year with the Florida Panthers earning 47 points (18-29=47) in 54 regular season games. Marchment would also score one goal in four games during the Stanley Cup playoffs while adding 21 hits. The 6-foot-4, 209-pound forward not only brings more size to the top two lines, but he also brings a strong two-way game that can be slotted on the second line assuming we see the top line of Robo-Pavs-Hintz rolled out for NHL’s opening night.
Marchment signed a four-year contract worth $18,000,000 with an annual average value (AAV) of $4,500,000. Easily one of the best deals on day one of free agency for the price. Stars GM Jim Nill stated before Wednesday that he would be seeking scoring help for the top six and it seems he did just that.
“Mason is a young and talented two-way player that will immediately bolster our lineup, he possesses offensive skill and has shown he has the size, physicality and grit to make an impact on both sides of the puck.”Stars GM Jim Nill on Mason Marchment
Additionally, the Stars signed defenseman Colin Miller to a two-year deal with an AAV of $1.85 million. Miller is a right-handed defenseman with a strong shot that will likely be used to try and replace the offensive production on the blue line lost with the likelihood of Klingberg finding a new home elsewhere. It should also be noted that Jani Hakanpaa was the only right-handed d-man on the Stars before the signing leaving the Stars with a hole that Miller will fill moving forward.
This was only day one of free agency and there is still work to be done. The contracts of goaltender Anton Khudobhin and forward Radek Faksa seem to be the only real chances for the Stars to move any money heading into the ’22-’23 NHL season to possibly bring in one more name while also re-signing Robo and Otter. It would be likely that Dobby would be moved to help another team meet the cap floor, much like the trade sending Ben Bishop’s contract to the Buffalo Sabres. Faksa has a 5-team no-trade clause setting a small obstacle in front of Jim Nill moving forward as well but as I said, that was only day one and there is plenty of time left for Nill to make another move.
D-Camp Day Three
It is of note that the Stars Development Camp continues this week as Wednesday was set aside for off-ice workouts. Thursday and Friday will wrap up the camp for the aspiring prospects with Friday being the “main event” as the group takes part in a skills competition and scrimmage. Stay tuned for that as we will be in Frisco live at Comerica Center to take a closer look at all the prospects.