The Dallas Stars announced yesterday that forward Tom Wandell accepted the team’s qualifying offer that was sent just hours before the deadline a little over a week ago. Wandell looked like he could have been heading to free agency, but after the Stars moved Mike Ribeiro and got through draft weekend, the team submitted an offer to Wandell. The deal is reportedly for $892,500 for one year.
After posting six goals and nine assists in 72 games last season, questions have to be asked about where Wandell fits into the lineup. While Wandell was never really seen a top-prospect or someone that would be a huge piece for the Stars, he did at times show some promise. At some points he even looked like he could become a fringe 2nd/3rd liner who could be a good two-way forward with some skating abilities. But after putting up 15 points in 50 games two years back, the Swedish center has contributed just 24 points in 147 games with a -10 rating over the last two seasons. While the numbers could be acceptable for a 4th line grinder that plays tough nightly or is on the roster to drop the gloves, they don’t speak highly of a 25-year old trying to find a place on a roster in transition.
While Wandell could have been a 3rd line or 4th line center, the team has added Cody Eakin and Derek Roy into the mix at center, at least giving the Stars some depth even if requires Jamie Benn to stay at center. Roy fits in as the 2nd line center and Eakin will likely play on the 3rd line and 4th with Vernon Fiddler in the mix as well. Toby Petersen will also be in the picture as a 4th liner and scratch that can play if someone is out injured. If Scott Glennie and Reilly Smith are possibly fighting to make the roster this coming season, then Wandell will have to fight just to earn a spot.
While he does have some value as a winger and center, Tom Wandell will have to earn his last chance this fall. The Stars extended an offer before the Roy deal and without really getting Eakin into the mix yet, likely trying to keep Wandell for depth. He appears too skilled to play on the 4th line nightly, but has not had the offensive touch to play with the 2nd line, especially with the recent additions made by the team. But the one thing Wandell will have over some of the kids is the experience. One last chance to make an impressions and break through. He has some of the skills, but if Tom can’t find a way to put things together this season then it is likely his last in Dallas.