Dallas Stars: Defense Free Agent Decisions Around Corner

The Dallas Stars have four veteran defensemen on the brink of free agency this coming offseason. The two big names generating a lot of talk are Alex Goligoski and Jason Demers. What are the Stars going to do with these two?

The Dallas Stars are looking ahead to next season in hopes of having similar regular season success and a longer playoff run. To do that, though, they have to decide which players will be suiting up in victory green come puck drop this fall.

Like most teams, the Stars find themselves with a few key players without contract extensions. That would make them free agents come July 1st, meaning any team could sign them to a deal and the Dallas Stars would get nothing in return.

With that day inching closer and closer, now sitting about a month out, the Stars have some key decisions to make about important players.

Alex Goligoski

The Dallas Stars’ defense is the main position of the team that would be affected by players lost to free agency. Alex Goligoski is the longest standing Stars defender who falls in that category and he still remains without an extension and without much buzz around a new contract.

The 30-year-old Minnesota native came to the Stars back in 2011 from the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for James Neal and Matt Niskanen. Since then he’s played in 385 regular season games for the Stars, scoring 187 points.

He’s played big minutes for the team, averaging 23:41 time on ice over his six season tenure in North Texas. It’s without a doubt that No. 33 has made contributions to the Stars that have helped them develop into a significantly more competitive team, but the real question is whether or not they need him to stay competitive.

Goligoski is a good skater with an okay shot. He’s a skilled play maker that the Stars can depend upon for 30+ assists a season, but his left-handed shot makes him more difficult to pair with the newer, younger Stars defenders.

Not to mention that his current cap hit is $4.6 million and could be expected in the same ballpark for the upcoming season. The Stars are looking at extending Jamie Benn‘s contract and have a few other players they may target in free agency, which would cause Goligoski to have an address change sooner rather than later.

Jason Demers

The other big Dallas Stars pending free agent defenseman is Jason Demers. Having joined the club via trade back in November 2014, Demers has only played 123 games with the team, scoring 45 points.

In his relatively short stint with Dallas, No. 4 has managed to make an impression. He spent the majority of this past season on the first or second pairing and rarely found himself out of the line-up, which is an accomplishment with as many defensemen as the Stars used throughout the season.

Demers is a 27-year-old right-handed shot, which works in his advantage as the Stars seem to be fans of playing three right-handed d-men with three left-handed as their respective partners. He’s a skilled, physical force on the ice and his defensive decisions are, for the most part, in line with Dallas’ style of play.

His plus-minus improved from plus-3 in 2014-15 to plus-16 just a year later in 2015-16 and he’s taken on more responsibility in his average of 20:09 ice time in two season with the Stars.

Demers’ cap hit is also relatively low for a veteran, having been $3.4 million over the last two years. While he would likely push for more money in a future contract, he would still be the less expensive option for Dallas.

Bottom Line

If the Dallas Stars chose to re-sign either of the players, it’d most likely be Demers. He’s less expensive, younger and a right-handed shot, which would work better for the Stars in their current cap situation.

However, there’s also the chance that they opt to release both defenders in hopes of signing a big name defensive free agent or trading for a true number one defender. While that would likely be the more expensive option, it could prove to be just what the Dallas Stars need to raise the Stanley Cup.

Regardless of what happens with Goligoksi and Demers, they’ve both contributed greatly to the Stars and will continue to play professional hockey. Although it seems strange to think of a team without a true veteran defender, Jim Nill always has a plan when it comes to this club. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Do you think the Stars will re-sign Goligoski or Demers, or will they pass on both and test the market? Leave your thoughts in the comments and, as always, thanks for reading!