As customary each offseason, every NHL team usually goes into the summer needing to sign a handful of restricted free agents, or RFAs. These are players whose entry-level deals have expired but are not yet granted unrestricted status, as per the League’s official website. While news of RFA signings usually take a journalistic backseat to the glamour of Free Agency, they are nonetheless an important development to follow.
Of every Dallas Star tagged with an RFA designation, the front office extends a qualifying offer to the following in no particular order:
- Defenseman Dillon Heatherington – $825,000
- Defenseman Niklas Hansson – $800,000
- Goaltender Landon Bow – $800,000
- Goaltender Philippe Desrosiers – $800,000
- Defenseman Gavin Bayreuther – $975,000
- Defenseman Julius Honka – $950,000
- Defenseman Chris Martenet – $750,000
Each of these qualifying offers is good for 1 year, essentially giving Dallas a handful of players on a “prove it” contract.
Of all these men, the defensive trio of Heatherington, Bayreuther, and Honka prove to be the most notable – each of them deserve a quality shot at rounding out the blueline. With Esa Lindell now signed, the Dallas Stars have a solidified tandem of John Klingberg, Miro Heiskanen, Lindell, Stephan Johns, and Jamie Oleksiak – with these qualifying offers, I am allowing three young defensemen to fight for the last two spots on the depth chart.
The others are signed to help shape the Texas Stars in their next season. That’s not to say anyone of them couldn’t surprise the big boys at the AAC in due time, but as of now, they should all be viewed as wanted prospects with hopes of furthering along their craft in the AHL.
Aside from Esa, the only other RFA eligible Dallas Star receiving a contract extension as opposed to a qualifying offer is Jason Dickinson. Signing a one-year deal usually entails that you have not seen enough of a player’s work, and in Dickinson’s case, I believe there is no need to risk him walking the following year.
After solidifying himself as a valuable member along the second line, the Dallas Stars ink #16 to a 3 year, $2.75M AAV contract. It’s a nice pay-raise for the former 1st rounder, but not enough of a financial commitment to hinder the team’s success. This deal allows him to play in Victory Green until he is 26 years old and continue to develop his encouraging chemistry with the top of the depth chart.
The Dallas Stars decide not to extend a qualifying offer to forward Brett Ritchie, thus concluding his time in Big D. This stage of the Offseason also includes the buyout of veteran Martin Hanzal, saving roughly $3M against the salary cap.
Onto the exciting part: