With the offseason basically already underway for the Dallas Stars I figured I would put out there the Stars list of free agents for this summer. We all of course know that the biggest player on the list is all-star center Brad Richards and he will not just be the most talked about free agent in Dallas but in the whole NHL. But who are the other Stars that could be resigning or leaving this summer? We here is the list for you of their unrestricted free-agents:
Brad Richards: Like I said he is not just the biggest free agent for the Stars but in the whole league. Richards is coming out of a huge contract and this will most likely be his last big contract for his career. He is about to turn 31 next month and is coming off of two great seasons in Dallas after dealing with injuries and getting used to the new team in his first full season in Dallas. Richards is about to turn 31 next month, and is one of the top 10-15 players in the league. He was a huge part of the Stars periods of success this season, and when he was injured and then still not 100% healthy down the stretch it showed. When he was not on the ice or at 100%, the Stars powerplay suffered and was horrible, even more then it already was most nights. More on Richards (a lot more) in future posts.
Jamie Langenbrunner: Stars fans got to see the return to Dallas for Jamie this season, as the Stars traded for him in January. The former Stars winger from the “glory years” came back much older then when he was traded to New Jersey. But Langenbrunner came in looking like the Stars answer for a need, bringing in a right-handed shot and someone who could play RW instead of being another guy the Stars just put on the right side. In the end he ended up with 18 points in 39 points, with mixed results. But I still see the Stars resigning him for a short-term deal, and he will probably sign for less then the $2.8 million he has been making the last few years.
Then the Stars have a trio of forwards who have played on the lower lines or did not play much at all. Brian Sutherby, Brandon Segal, and Jason Williams are all going to UFAs this summer. Sutherby has been primarily a 4th line/grit guy for Dallas the last few seasons, but has not been on the ice consistently. Over three seasons in Dallas he has played around 40-50 games each year, and has been a scratch at times and has often dealt with nagging injuries too. He made a little over 800K this season, and I would not be surprised either way if he stays or goes because he can easily be replaced or moved for a younger guy to get a spot. Segal was a waiver pick-up in spring 2010 for the Stars and had some immediate success, scoring 10 points in 19 games. But this year Segal never really hit it off again at the NHL level and was sent down to the Texas Stars where he did a lot better. So where does that leave Segal? right where he has been for a few years. Good in the AHL, but really not good enough to be anything in the NHL. Plus if the Stars keep Langenbrunner and Vincour keeps showing the potential he did late this season, Segal may be the 4th or 5th right-winger. So he could be resigned and stay in the AHL, but I think his time is done with the Stars. Williams is the one of the three I would most like the Stars to keep. Jason Williams was signed mid-season to add depth when injuries hit and he ended up being a decent add for Dallas. He can play center or Rw and has been a depth guy for multiple teams including the Red Wings so far in his career. He does not really add offense, but he plays smart for the most part and can shoot the puck. Plus Williams signed for 500K and I don’t see him getting anything more then that really if they want to resign him.
Finally the Stars have two defensemen on their NHL roster that could become UFAs this summer. Karlis Skrastins has been an interesting on the Stars back-end the last couple of seasons. The veteran blueliner was brought in primarily because he was inexpensive and is defensive-minded, and over the two seasons here he has been given a mixed review. While he is a “smart” player and knows how to play defense, at times his age shows. He is not quick at all and he can be beat around the corner, and he has very little offense to his game. But if he is the 5th or 6th d-man on a decent unit then he is fine. The problem is that the team defense is weak and small problems like his speed or agility can really show. But in the end I think the Stars resign him and after making $1.65million this season they could probably sign the 36 year-old for even less. Jeff Woywitka is the other blueliner up for a new contract. Jeff did not play much to start the season, but came into the lineup while others were out and earned himself a spot by having a great stretch of game. He seemed to hit it off playing next to Daley, and the coaching staff permanently put the pair together. But down the stretch Woywitka started having issues and losing fans. He at times was relied upon to play 20 mins a night and under the added pressure and growing minutes he began looking like what he was. A 5th or 6th D-man being relied upon to play top four minutes in playoff type situations. While I think the Stars will resign him if the ownership situation does not change and they get some money to spend, I kind of hope they do not. His $700K salary this season though will make him easy to resign either for depth or possibly even still needing him from lack of options. But in the end I hope he is not back. Nothing against the guy really, just he is okay in many aspects but not good at really anything.
So there you go, the Stars UFAs on their roster. In the future I will look over their unrestricted and restricted free agents from the AHL and minor league rosters. Hope you guys got some info out of this, and are at least finding a way to enjoy playoff hockey with the Stars being out.