It’s Hump Day, Stars fans! Hope y’all have enjoyed your week so far and if not, maybe this boring report card will take your mind off it!
QUICK NOTE:A HUGE congratulations goes out to the Texas Stars for winning their first Calder Cup Finals in the history of their franchise and being the NEW AHL CHAMPIONS! We Stars fans could not be prouder of y’all and all the hard work you’ve put in to get where you are now! The future is VERY bright for the Dallas Stars organization with all the young talent that has been showcased down in Cedar Park, including short-time Dallas Star Patrik Nemeth scoring the game winning goal last night in overtime to clinch the series against the Winnipeg Jets’ affiliate, The St. John’s Ice Caps, 4-1!! GO STARS. Now back to your next report card on #38, Vernon Fiddler: Vernon Fiddler became a Dallas Star on July 1, 2011 after signing with the organization as a free agent. Through 3 years, the 34 year old center has proven himself to be a valuable addition to the Stars’ third and fourth lines, which is not necessarily what Fiddler had in mind.
Vernon Fiddler came to Big D after serving several stints with both the Nashville Predators and the Phoenix Coyotes. He came to Dallas as a quality center and spent 2 seasons with Dallas prior to this past season, one including him serving all 82 games and pulling off 8 goals and 13 assists, and one with him appearing in 46/48 games in a lockout-shortened season and finding the net 4 times while tallying 13 assists. Both of these seasons he mainly served on the 2nd and 3rd lines. This season, Fiddler suited up for 76 of the possible 82 regular season games for Dallas. While skating mainly on the 3rd and 4th lines with Alex Chiasson, Shawn Horcoff, and sometimes Ray Whitney, Fidds found himself contributing a final stat line of 6 goals and 17 assists. Though Fiddler is a minor name on a Stars’ roster full of top-grade young talent, he found himself saving Dallas a few times during the regular season, including the penalty shot at TD Garden that sent the Stars to a sudden-death shootout with the Bruins where the Stars would eventually win the game and send Boston fans home enraged and fiddled (hehe), as well as a shootout equalizer that lifted the Stars out of a loss against the Predators back in April, which ended up being the game before their postseason-clinching game took place on April 11th. Vernon Fiddler found ways to participate in the playoffs as well.
Fiddler participated in all 6 of the Stars’ long-missed postseason games. Again working on mainly the 4th line for the duration of the postseason, he finished his 6th career postseason performance with 1 goal and 2 assists. This goal turned out to be the Stars’ saving grace in Game 4 when Fiddler tied up the game from a short side sneaker on Andersen that dug the Stars out of a 0-2 hole and back to even. With this postseason performance, Fiddler proved that he is still a viable center and deserves to be recognized in the offseason ahead.
Fiddler’s contract is ready to expire come June 30th and by July 1st, he will be free to do as he pleases. His salary during the previous year turned out to be $1,800,000 and his cap hit turned out to be the same. Fiddler, going on his 12th season in the pros, will be a key name in the free agency department. With leadership characteristics and skillful abilities, his name is bound to be at the top of some struggling team’s list or even a team that is set for a Cup run but could use a little help holding up the back end.
In my opinion:
To me, re-signing Fiddler would be a good move for the Stars. With his quality career and his timely settling in Dallas, the Stars could really use him where they’ve had him on their eventual journey to the Cup. But, sadly, this is not how the Stars or Fiddler are thinking, so I’ll just leave it at that and describe what I mean in the bottom line section.
The bottom line on Vernon Fiddler:
Vernon Fiddler came to Dallas as a free agent and made an impression in the Stars’ lineup over the last few seasons, especially when playing the dot for the bottom lines. Now, as I said above, I think re-signing Fiddler is an outstanding idea and that it would help the Stars out tremendously in their journey to Stanley’s series. But neither of the sides are potentially feeling that way right about now. Vernon Fiddler plans to become a free agent and leave Dallas in the back of his mind, as do the Stars in regards to Fidds. Fiddler wants to test the pool for a little while and see if any offers come up that he potentially agrees with or would rather take than a possible offer from Dallas. And with Fiddler’s caliber, there are likely to be at least 4 or 5 teams knocking on his door. So, the question will end up being if Fiddler likes the offer he is given and if his playing time will increase. He had some complaints about his playing time during the most recent season, which surfaced shortly after the first month of the season and resulted in Fiddler being made quietly available by the Stars and basically being pinned to the trade block, considering the Stars had no one they could move out in order for Fiddler to move in. Seguin, Eakin, and Peverley/Horcoff were regarded as a higher caliber than him at the beginning of the season, though now a different argument has surfaced, at least for me. So, if Fiddler does not care for any offers he receives and declines them all, he will come back to the Stars’ front office and let them know. If they are still searching for a fourth line center and Fiddler is willing to take the job, then a possible reunion could be in store. But two things play blockade on this circumstance: one being that Fiddler does nor want to be pinned to the bottom feeder lines and will most likely receive a contract from a team in the rebuild phase that could use him as a second or third line center that he will happily accept, and two being that the Stars will most likely find a fourth line center before Fiddler would possibly return, with all signs pointing to a joyous reunion with Steve Ott. But these are all speculations, so don’t go preaching Josh’s beliefs just yet. The Stars will be looking for top name centers in the offseason and will be saying goodbye to some upcoming free agents, one of them most likely being Vernon Fiddler. He has served a very respectable tenure, but sometimes things just don’t work out between two separate bodies. But if you truly LOVE Fiddler, keep the faith! Lord knows I’m keeping all the faith I have in the Stars hopefully holding on to Erik Cole. So, please direct all comment you have to the box below and I will talk to y’all again soon. Have a GREAT Wednesday! GO STARS.