With the insanity of free agency only 48 hours away, things are only continuing to get more exciting around the NHL. As soon as things start on Monday, most NHL fans will be tuned in to Twitter, TSN, NHL Network, or whatever else they can get hopefully waiting to hear that their team signed one of the big players they want. By now everyone knows that the two big names this summer are Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, and most teams will at least be trying to target one of them. Each is by far the best player at their position (Parise as a forward, Suter as a defenseman), and could be looking to make millions of dollars over their last contracts.
As most fans of the Dallas Stars know by now, the team hopes to be a big player in free agency this summer. The Stars are roughly $30 million below the current cap ceiling, which could change with the new CBA, and have to spend likely at least half of that. While a little bit of that will be taken up by the new contract for Jamie Benn whenever the two sides agree on something, the Stars will still have tons of room to use as they pursue moves this summer. So trying to go after both of the big names is an expected action from owner Tom Gaglardi and GM Joe Nieuwendyk. But can the Stars really land one of the two prizes in this very lop-sided free agent class?
While the fans would love to hope so, excitement should be held in check for now. The market for both players is massive. Parise just helped take the New Jersey Devils to the Cup Finals and they aren’t just prepared to let their captain go. But along with the Devils and Stars, the Pittsburgh Penguins, Minnesota Wild, Los Angeles Kings, and Detroit Red Wings are all considered to be teams looking to sign the 27-year old winger. Among those teams, sadly the Stars might have one of the weaker pitches right now. The Penguins created cap space recently, including trading Jordan Staal, and rumor has it they are willing to offer him a 10-year deal worth around $80 million. The Wild are also willing to pay the massive price tag to bring Parise to his hometown and try to bring back some excitement to a team that has struggled on the ice recently. Add in everyone else wanting to pay for his services, and it might take the Stars out-paying everyone to get his attention, which could be a deal in the $8 million a season range.
Then there is Suter. The talented blueliner has flourished with the Nashville Predators in recent years and some consider him to be as talented as his linemate Shea Weber, just a little bit different package of skills. Just like Parise, Ryan hasn’t shut the door on going back to his current team, but is going to test the market and appears more likely to leave then stay. The former 7th overall pick in 2003 now could be looking at a big raise after making $3.5 million over the last four seasons. Dallas will be in the mix with Detroit, Nashville, the Penguins if they strike out on Parise, the Philadelphia Flyers, and probably more teams. The big blueliner can play in all situations and will likely earn the massive type of deal that we have seen #1 defensemen sign over the last couple of years. And Nashville might be willing to say goodbye to Weber long-term to keep Suter with the current core. So while Dallas might have some attractive players and a great spot for him to fill right next to Alex Goligoski, it might take $7 million a season for over six years to add Suter to their roster.
While the Stars have the money and plenty of space, the market is flooded with teams willing to make offers for each of their services. Hopefully Dallas and GM Joe are able to pull something off on Monday (or whenever during this coming week each player decides to sign), but right now fans should get their hopes up “expecting” that the Stars can just easily sign either or both of them.
Tags: Dallas Stars Detroit Red Wings Joe Nieuwendyk Jordan Staal Minnesota Wild Nashville Predators New Jersey Devils NHL Free Agency Philadelphia Flyers Pittsburgh Penguins Ryan Suter Shea Weber Tom Gaglardi Zach Parise