Different category. Same dilemma.
In my last article, I explained to you the situation the Stars were in regarding all their RFA’s (restricted free agent) and what I thought the best move would be for each player.
In this article, I’ll tell you the status of all the UFA’s (unrestricted free agent) on the Stars and what the Stars could potentially do with them.
Re-sign them all? Some? None? Here’s how it goes down:
The UFA’s (Unrestricted Free Agent):
As I mentioned in his report card, Whitney’s play heavily deteriorated over the past season and his numbers suffered as such. Whitney, 42, has already passed way over the hill, but he still feels that more seasons could be in his future. His contract in which he was paid $4,500,000 during this most recent season, has expired with the Stars and come July 1st he will be a lone ranger (possibly a Ranger? just kidding haha). He didn’t fill the gaps he or the Stars were expecting him to and therefore fell in the ranks from October to April.
With his contributions mainly coming on the power play, which was less than pleasant to watch anyway for that matter, it doesn’t seem like a new big bucks contract would be the best idea for the organization. His age has contributed to his downsize and he doesn’t necessarily have anything going for him. Plus, he’s having to try and compete with the new material rolling off the conveyor belt in Cedar Park right now.
Overall decision: Let him go. Retirement might even be calling, but there are definitely a few teams out there that could use his help and leadership. Either way, he and Dallas’ relationship is most likely over, unless Lindy and Jim are looking for same roster as last year to see if it works again (not happening).
Fidds has been a joyful addition to the Dallas Stars for the last 3 seasons, and has added to Dallas’ depth at center. Vern is currently sitting at age 34 but still remains a valuable threat to opposing teams when in the dot and in stride. But being pegged to the third and fourth line, like Whitney, has irritated him, all the way to the point of requesting more playing time or be traded. He was given a few more minutes and shifts each game, but he did not use them very wisely. He finished the season with just 6 goals and 17 assists.
Being that he played mainly on the third line toward the end of the season, his numbers are understood. But his physicality is what gets him along. If he can match his regular intensity each night, then his presence should be welcomed by Dallas. But that’s a risk to take with a player getting up there in the years. Fresh talent in the dot is getting hard for the Stars to pull off, which is why a 2nd line center is the Stars main goal this coming offseason, which would put the Stars with 5 centers, leaving one odd man out (most likely Fiddler) to scratch or become a late bloomed free agent.
Overall decision: Fiddler can still use his body for heavy fore checks, but after this offseason he might not have a spot on the roster anymore. He and the Stars’ best bets would probably be to sever ties and look different ways. But if no center can be traded for or picked up and Fiddler is still looking, they might as well offer him a new one.
Mueller was a take from Buffalo this past offseason. He is up for expiration this July and is going to have total freedom. He rarely played in Big D, but when he was needed, he filled the center void. But his stats were rather bland. And by bland, I mean bone dry (0G, 0A) in 9 games with a -2 rating as well as 4 playoff games with the exact same stats.
But his AHL stats are where he shines like Lindy’s forehead (this post was getting bland so I had to spice it up). He played 60 regular season games for Texas and netted 25 goals and tallied 32 assists. So far in the AHL postseason, he has played 14 games with 5 goals and 3 assists, and he isn’t done yet (let’s go baby Stars!). Mueller is on the older side of where most prospect’s ages range at 28, but he’s still working hard and staying gritty. And a center like this to back up injuries is what the Stars need.
Overall decision: Re-sgin him. He’s a good quality player in the late developmental stages and can be useful in the years to come.
Now honestly, how did y’all feel about Tim’s performance this past season. In eight games for the Stars, he posted a 2-4-1 record with a .902 SV% and a 2.97 GAA.
Now these numbers are NOT horrible. But is this where the Dallas Stars’ back up goalie needs to be? I’m not sure how Nill is looking at this. Tim hit the big 4-0 on April 15th and his age doesn’t necessarily seem to be slowing him down. The Stars picked him up in a trade with the Florida Panthers for Dan Ellis at the deadline back in early March and he brought his one year deal with him. His numbers are solid for his age, but are the Stars looking to keep a veteran goalie as their back up? Or are they looking for a fresh start, like Chad Johnson or Devin Dubnyk? We won’t know for sure who is going to take the position next year, but don’t bet anything heavy on it being Thomas, unless the Stars are positive that they are headed for the Cup next year and Thomas will be the veteran leader that they need.
Overall decision: It’s not up to me, but I would try my best to pick up a new and fresh, young face through trades or the FA market. Let Thomas go unless there is no one else to pick up.
These guys have been nice to have in Dallas over the past couple of seasons. But for most of them, it’s time to move on and look for new faces to put in green that’ll help carry the load to the Cup.
Comments if they’re worthy enough (haha). Go Stars