The Dallas Stars solidified two more spots on their 2019-20 NHL roster yesterday by extending two players that will look to make bigger impacts in the coming season.
The Dallas Stars announced via Twitter on Thursday morning that they had extended defenseman Roman Polak to a one-year, $1.75 million extension. Polak, who turned 33-years-old in April, had one goal and eight assists in 77 appearances for Dallas last season.
Signing Polak may not have been priority number one on Stars’ GM Jim Nill’s ‘grocery list’ of objectives to complete in the offseason, but keeping him under contract with the Stars for another year should certainly help keep what was a solid blue line intact for next season.
Polak’s game aids that of defensive teammate Miro Heiskanen—they were an extremely reliable pairing on the Stars’ defense and helped contribute in making Dallas’ defense one of the most disruptive and shutdown forces in the League for much of the regular season and postseason.
But is uniquely interesting about Polak’s game, though, is that he is able to complement the success of a player such as Heiskanen in separate ways, and they were able to feed off of each other’s strengths, and good results followed.
And Polak’s play over the past season was indicative of the fact that he subtly was a large part of the backbone of what kept Dallas’ defense alive, even in the spite of several injuries, call-ups, and line shuffles.
The veteran’s 69 penalty minutes led the team; his 152 shot blocks were second-most; his 191 hits were also second-most; his average ice time per game of 19:10 was fourth-best among defensemen and sixth-best among all non-goalie players; he also averaged 2:38 minutes per game on the penalty kill, which was second-most on the team. In all, Polak was a quality and physical d-man that helped cement Dallas’ defense all season long.
"“[Polak] personifies what it means to be a professional and his mentorship to our younger players proved to be invaluable to our organization,” Nill told The Athletic’s Sean Shapiro in a statement. “His team-first attitude and physical style of play is endearing to both his teammates and his coaching staff, and we’re thrilled to have him back.”"
Polak’s long-term future in Dallas may be uncertain with players such as Joe Cecconi, Emil Djuse, and Gavin Bayreuther coming up through the ranks of the Stars’ system. But, in the meantime, Polak comes with a cheap price tag and should continue to be a dominant—but underrated—presence on Dallas’ blue line heading into next season.
Stars sign F Mattias Janmark to one-year deal
The Stars weren’t done with their Free Agency class on Thursday.
Just a few hours after Polak was signed to an extension, the Stars announced that they had also inked forward Mattias Janmark to a one-year, $2.3 million dollar deal. The Swede was coming off his lowest season in the NHL, with just 25 points in 81 games for Dallas, which was four less than his total in the 2015-16 season.
Janmark, 26, will enter his third fourth season with the Stars despite having been with the organization since he was acquired in a trade from the Detroit Red Wings in March 2015—a knee injury suffered towards the end of his rookie season kept him out of the entire 2016-17 campaign.
But Janmark rebounded from not having played a game in the National Hockey League for over a year; he finished the 2017-18 season with 19 goals (two of which were shorthanded, by the way), 34 points, averaged 16:56 minutes of ice time per game, and played in all but one contest in the entire regular season. For a Dallas team that finished the year second to last in the Central Division, Janmark was a bright spot on a dark season.
The following season, there were hopes that Janmark would develop into an even better and more reliable depth winger. However, Janmark was just a cog in the machine of an entire Dallas Stars team that struggled to find the net often. He ended the year with six goals and 19 assists across 81 games.
Janmark’s deal was worth the minimum he could be offered by the Stars as an RFA. Next season, he’ll look to bounce back from a down year and add depth to the Stars’ offense.
In all, the Stars will be spending just over $4 million on both Polak and Janmark next season—both financially sound decisions for Jim Nill and the Stars’ front office. With more than $12 million dollars still remaining in cap space, there’s no telling what the Dallas Stars might do next.
- Published on 06/08/2019 at 11:01 AM
- Last updated at 06/08/2019 at 08:43 AM