Dallas Stars: 6 Takeaways from the Stars’ First Day of Free Agency

DALLAS, TX - MARCH 09: The Dallas Stars celebrate a goal against the Anaheim Ducks during the third period at American Airlines Center on March 9, 2018 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - MARCH 09: The Dallas Stars celebrate a goal against the Anaheim Ducks during the third period at American Airlines Center on March 9, 2018 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

A lot when down on the first day of free agency, so let’s take a look at the Dallas Stars’ top six takeaways:

1. Nill wants more veteran presence

GM Jim Nill brought in seasoned players, D Roman Polak (1 year, $1.3 million) and RW Blake Comeau (3 years, $2.3 million per), to help add experience to the Stars’ roster. Polak, who will be entering his 13th season in the NHL, has played with the Blues, Maple Leafs, and Sharks.

In contrast, Comeau has spent his last 12 years in the NHL with the Islanders, Flames, Blue Jackets, Penguins, and Avalanche. Both have over 650 total career points and have recorded over 100 career assists.

Dallas also signed RW Erik Condra, who has played in over 350 NHL games for the Ottawa Senators and Tampa Bay Lightning over seven seasons. The Stars did not have many older players last season, so it looks like Nill and the Stars want some veteran leadership to help lead by example.

2. Valeri Nichushkin is coming back to the Big D

After two years in the Russian league, the KHL, forward Valeri Nichushkin signed a two-year deal for $5.9 million. It was rumored that Nichushkin was ousted due to feuds with former Stars head coach Lindy Ruff, who was later fired at the end of that year.

Nichushkin, who was drafted 10th by the Stars in the 2013 NHL entry draft, is only 23-years-old and can be a huge asset to Dallas. In his three seasons at Dallas, before he went to Russia, Valeri recorded 64 points (23 G, 41 A) in 166 games. In the KHL, he recorded 57 points (31 G, 26 A) in 104 games. He also registered 23 points (10 G, 13 A) in 53 games for CSKA (Moscow). He will join Brett Ritchie, Blake Comeau, and fellow Russian Alexander Radulov.

3. The Stars brought in a solid backup netminder

The Stars also signed former Boston Bruin goalie Anton Khudobin to serve as the backup Ben Bishop and replace Lehtonen. Khudobin has played in 147 NHL games with Minnesota, Boston, Carolina, and Anaheim. He has won 67 games, allowed only 2.47 goals per game, and secured a .915 save percentage in nine years in the NHL.

The Russian goaltender spent his last two years in Boston and won 23 games in 47 games played. Khudobin, who was considered to be one of the better backups available, will spend the next two years in the Dallas net with Bishop

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4. They added a few young guys to the roster

The Stars also turned their attention to younger players on the first day of free agency. Along with Nichushkin, Dallas signed defenseman Joel Hanley and LW Michael Mersch to one year, two-way contracts. They also secured goalie Colton Point to a three-year entry-level deal. Point will compete with Landon Bow for the starting spot in the AHL.

5. Dallas (obviously) lost the Tavares Lottery

Tavares signed a seven-year, 77 million dollar deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday. The Leafs outlasted the Stars, Bruins, Lightning, Sharks, and Islanders to sign him. Tavares, the biggest name to become a free agent since Steven Stamkos, will join Auston Matthews in Toronto, who might have won the offseason.

Tavares has spent all nine of his years in the NHL with the New York Islanders. While on their team, he recorded a total of 621 points (272 G, 349 A) in 669 games. Tavares scored 37 goals last season and also gave out 47 assists for a total of 84 points.

6. The Stars’ Losses aren’t Super Damaging

Despite all of Dallas’ additions, they lost Antoine Roussel, Greg Pateryn, and Curtis McKenzie to other teams.

Roussel signed a 4 year, $3 million per year with the Vancouver Canucks. Pateryn signed a 3-year deal that is worth a total of $6.75 million. Finally, the Las Vegas Golden Knights snatched up McKenzie for $1.5 million dollars over two years.

These losses might serve as detriments to the locker room chemistry, but most likely won’t be disastrous overall.

Next: Why keeping Stephen Johns was a good move

More is yet to come, as Jim Nill has made a few unpredictable moves in the past. The Stars have just over $10 million left in cap space, but still have to sign restricted free agents Devin Shore, Gemel Smith, Mattias Janmark, Dillon Heatherington, Jason Dickinson, Remi Elie, and Philippe Desrosiers