Dallas Stars: Ten Players Set To Hit Free Agency This Summer

Mar 31, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Stars center Vernon Fiddler (38) and defenseman Alex Goligoski (33) and right wing Patrick Eaves (18) celebrate Eaves
Mar 31, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Stars center Vernon Fiddler (38) and defenseman Alex Goligoski (33) and right wing Patrick Eaves (18) celebrate Eaves /

With the season over, the focus now switches to free agency for the Dallas Stars. They’ll have quite a few players hitting the market this summer.

The Dallas Stars have created a contending team with their moves in the past few offseasons. Tyler Seguin in 2013. Jason Spezza and Ales Hemsky in 2014. Patrick Sharp and Johnny Oduya in 2015. GM Jim Nill has gone the extra mile to put the right pieces around Jamie Benn in order to make sure the team has a sustainable future, in terms of competing for the Cup.

This summer, the team will have ten different players hitting free agency. Let’s dive in and take a look at who they are.

Dallas Stars Forwards

The Stars have Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, Jason Spezza and Patrick Sharp all locked up for the 2016-17 season, so none of their immediate impact players will be going anywhere. The main focus on the forward position will be the extra players that are added in to create substance, whether it’s on offense or defense.

Patrick Eaves

Status: Unrestricted Free Agent

Patrick Eaves only played a total of 63 games in the 2015-16 season due to a few injuries. He was often seen in front of the net whether he was being used in standard play or on the power play. Eaves’ was bounced around on just about every line, but he always played with passion, which made his contributions so important to the team. He ended up with three goals and three assists in the playoffs, despite missing most of the series against the St. Louis Blues.

Valeri Nichushkin

Status: Restricted Free Agent

Valeri Nichushkin finished up his third season in the NHL this year. He registered nine goals and 20 assists in 79 games and usually made a living on the second line with Jason Spezza and Mattias Janmark. He continues to be developed as he is still only 21 years old.

Vernon Fiddler

Status: Unrestricted Free Agent

Serving as one of the Stars’ alternate captains, Vernon Fiddler provided the team with savvy, veteran play night in and night out. The 36-year-old anchored the fourth line for the majority of the season and was one of the team’s premier penalty killers. Fiddler is one of the longest-tenured players in Dallas as he has been on the team since 2011-12.

Colton Sceviour

Status: Unrestricted Free Agent

Colton Sceviour was also a consistent fourth-liner as he finished his second straight complete season in the NHL. One of his best skills is his ability to deflect pucks into the net. He’s also a great penalty killer.

Travis Moen

Status: Unrestricted Free Agent

Travis Moen was one of the few Stars that failed to register a goal this season. He played in 23 games, recording just two assists. Moen was often inserted into the lineup against more physical teams.

In summary, I expect the Stars to get deals done with both Eaves and Fiddler. Nichushkin’s potential, as well as his restricted status, means he’ll most likely be back too. Sceviour and Moen are two players that could be signed for depth but also could also be replaced, should the Stars find better options elsewhere.

Dallas Stars Defensemen

This is where it gets interesting for the Stars this offseason. They have John Klingberg, Johnny Oduya and Stephen Johns, but the rest of the blue line could look much different come October.

Alex Goligoski

Status: Unrestricted Free Agent

Is there another player on the team that frustrated fans more than Alex Goligoski this season? Whether it was poor turnovers or questionable decisions, Stars fans spent most of the season unimpressed with the veteran defenseman’s play. Even with that in mind, he was the second-most productive blue-liner, with five goals and 32 assists in the regular season.

Jason Demers

Status: Unrestricted Free Agent

Jason Demers was one of the more impressive defensemen for the Stars this year. In his second season with the team, he had seven goals and 16 assists. At one point, it looked like he could’ve been out for the rest of the season, but Demers was back in time for the playoffs, giving the Stars a valuable right-handed shot from the blue line.

Kris Russell

Status: Unrestricted Free Agent

Kris Russell was brought over to Dallas at the trade deadline. He ended up playing more playoff games (12) than he did regular season games (11). He paired with Demers for most of the season and was often credited with his ability to block shots.

Jordie Benn

Status: Unrestricted Free Agent

Jordie Benn, the older brother of the captain, was a fixture in the Stars’ defensive pairings until the trade for Russell. At the time, the blue line was suffering from many injuries, but shortly after the trade, players began to come back, and with the emergence of Stephen Johns, Benn was left as a scratch for the last couple weeks of the season as well as the playoffs.

Jamie Oleksiak

Status: Restricted Free Agent

Jamie Oleksiak, 23, played 19 games with the Stars this season and registered two assists. He was often brought into the lineup at the same time as Patrik Nemeth, since the two create a solid pairing.

The defensive side of things could go either way. I don’t believe Goligoski is coming back to the team, as he will be a popular name among other desperate teams this summer. Russell and Benn are two other players that I wouldn’t be surprised to see in different jerseys next season.

I think re-signing Demers would be a great move, though it may not happen, and with Oleksiak’s size and potential, plus the fact that he’s a restricted free agent, he’ll most likely get a new deal.

The case could be made that all of the guys mentioned above, except for Oleksiak, could be ushered out. The Stars have three great defensemen already and young players, like Esa Lindell, will be ready for the NHL next season. This will likely be the position that defines the Stars’ summer.

More dfw sports: Five Takeaways From The 2015-16 Season

As for goalies, neither Antti Niemi or Kari Lehtonen are free agents, but I would expect one of them to be bought out after their playoff results. That could trigger another offseason trade.