Blackout Dallas has been busy with draft prospect reports recently, but with the draft a week away, it’s time to start exploring the quickly approaching free agency period. We will begin with the Dallas Stars that are going to be Unrestricted Free Agents on July 1st. This list only includes players who had NHL time this season, excluding the AHL players who are UFAs. I’m also choosing to leave Andrew Raycroft out of this post, because it’s readily apparent he’s played his last game in the Dallas Stars organization.
UPDATE: It has been reported earlier today that Sheldon Souray turned down a contract offer of 1 year, $3 million from the Stars. This report is certainly not confirmed, but if it’s true, it only lends credence to the fact that Souray wants a contract longer than just 1 year, and it might not be something the Stars are willing to do. This post will be updated if the report is confirmed.
1. Adam Burish
Adam Burish, the perennial fan favorite and multi-faceted workhorse for the Dallas Stars, is set to become a free agent after two years in Texas. His first season with the team saw him hit a career high 14 points, and he improved on that number this year, hitting 19 points in 65 games played. Burish could be found all over the lineup, whether it be down on the fourth line or starting on the second line or taking crucial face offs when needed. He’s the type of player every team wants to have. You can almost guarantee Joe Nieuwendyk is going to give Adam Burish an offer to stay with the team, but it will not be the only one. There were rumors before the trade deadline that his former team, the Chicago Blackhawks, were interested in acquiring him and they are another likely suitor who will send a contract offer Burish’s way. Burish’s 2011-2012 salary was $1.3 million and it should seem logical that he will be looking for a raise after the two most productive years of his career thus far. I don’t think I’m alone in saying that Stars fans would love to have Adam Burish back in Dallas. The Stars have the cap room to give Burish a raise, but how far they’re willing to go compared to other offers will be the question.
2. Radek Dvorak
Radek Dvorak was a decent contributor offensively, producing 4 goals and 17 assists in 73 games, but his real role was to be a third line two way player who contributed valuable defensive stability. He was a constant partner with Vernon Fiddler and Eric Nystrom, and while they were successful early in the season, the line struggled mightily during the latter half of the year. I don’t expect the Stars to resign Dvorak, he’s turning 36 next year and the organization should open up the bottom six roster spots for younger players to come in and prove they belong or to move up the depth chart (names like Ryan Garbutt come to mind). The money the Stars would have to spend on Dvorak would be better served towards securing RFAs like Richard Bachman and the aforementioned Ryan Garbutt. That being said, the organization could think differently and there’s no guarantees with Dvorak.
3. Jake Dowell
Jake Dowell’s role on the Stars this season was no secret; he was an enforcer, the guy who’d go out and fight to make a statement when needed. His offensive contributions dipped significantly from his 2010-2011 season with the Blackhawks, going from 21 points to just 7. He was a healthy scratch numerous times and saw his ice time gradually decrease throughout the season. Do the Stars want to keep an enforcer on the roster? If so they may offer Dowell another contract, but it feels like Dowell didn’t succeed in this system and will be looking for another home if there’s one to be found.
4. Toby Petersen
It’s sad to say, but Toby Petersen has lost favor with the coaching staff in Dallas. He played in a fair amount of games in the first half of the season, finding himself in the lineup more often than not, but towards the end of February, he became all but absent from the roster. He played just one game after February 26th, and since he’ll be turning 34 in the upcoming season, the signs point towards Petersen’s stay in the Stars organization coming to an end. His offensive contribution steadily dropped and he never found himself playing above a fourth line role this season. He played his part, but Toby Petersen will be better served elsewhere in the NHL.
5. Sheldon Souray
Perhaps the most significant UFA in this year’s crop, Sheldon Souray is a fan favorite and was a top pairing defenseman for the Stars this past season. He’s openly expressed his desire to return to the team, and it’s no secret the organization loves him as a player and leader in the locker room. He found himself with an A on his jersey when injuries necessitated and he played brutal minutes for the team when called upon. His production early in the season was fantastic, but nagging injuries slowed him down significantly. He turns 36 next month and contract length and cost will be a major factor in negotiations between the Souray and the Stars. He’ll be looking for more than just another one year deal and a raise to boot. Should the Stars take the plunge and offer Souray a multi-year contract? He’ll be one of the biggest question marks and teams looking for a veteran defenseman may offer him a contract the Stars just refuse to match. He’d be welcome back in Dallas, but giving a 36 year old who’s prone to injuries a multi-year contract can be a risk. What would you do?
You can follow me here: @AndrewMonrreal