Dallas Stars Free Agency: Assessing Greg Pateryn’s Situation

DALLAS, TX - NOVEMBER 18: Dallas Stars defenseman Greg Pateryn (29) waits for play to begin during the game between the Dallas Stars and the Edmonton Oilers on November 18, 2017 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. Dallas defeats Edmonton 6-3.(Photo by Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - NOVEMBER 18: Dallas Stars defenseman Greg Pateryn (29) waits for play to begin during the game between the Dallas Stars and the Edmonton Oilers on November 18, 2017 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. Dallas defeats Edmonton 6-3.(Photo by Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

It’s time to break down the situation of each unrestricted free agent on the Dallas Stars in the coming summer. Today, we take a look at the potential future of defenseman Greg Pateryn after his first full season with the Stars.

The Dallas Stars have a lot to deal with over the next 30 days or so.

As it goes with every offseason, each NHL team faces a plethora of decisions. The period for making each decision could last a few days or may take months to mull over. But each decision can play a critical role in the team’s chances at future success.

These decisions can range anywhere from draft day moves to trade acquisitions. But they also involve free agents, both on the team and on the market.

In the 2018 offseason, the Stars have a unique free agent class to process. They have a healthy stock of restricted free agents that either need qualification or to be signed to longer-term deals. But on top of that, there are a few unrestricted free agents that all pose a difficult argument.

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Here at Blackout Dallas, we decided to look over the situation of each UFA. There are 11 unrestricted free agents in the organization to contemplate, but we will only focus on the players that played in at least one game at the NHL level this past year. That narrows the list to six players.

The interesting thing about this class of UFAs is that all six players have a serious argument to both stay and go. There is a respectable reason for Dallas to keep each player, but there is also a solid reason to release them to free agency and move on in a different direction.

And that’s why GM Jim Nill‘s job will be a challenge this summer. If he lets a player go, he needs to be prepared to find a replacement, whether in house or on the market. And if he re-signs a player, he has to maneuver around the cap and make the deal feasible for the team. On top of that, he also has to be sure that the player is ready and able to fill the role that needs filling.

The six UFAs on the list include Kari Lehtonen, Dan Hamhuis, Greg Pateryn, Antoine Roussel, Mike McKenna, and Curtis McKenzie. We are already well into our coverage and will continue to .

We’ve already taken a look at the potential futures of Kari LehtonenMike McKenna, and Dan Hamhuis. Today, we will look at defender Greg Pateryn after his first full season in Dallas.

History With The Team

On February 27, 2017, the Dallas Stars put on one of the more shocking trades of the Jim Nill era. The Stars dealt defenseman Jordie Benn to the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for a fourth-round pick and defenseman Greg Pateryn.

At the time, the trade seemed like a tough one for the Stars to take on. The team was struggling and playoff hopes were bleak, so it was obvious that Dallas would be active at the deadline. But trading away one of their only veteran defenders for an unproven NHL defender and a draft pick didn’t seem like the most conscientious idea. After all, Pateryn was 26 at the time and had yet to play more than 38 games in a given season since 2012-13.

But Pateryn quickly made a name for himself. He only played in 12 games for the Dallas Stars to close out the 2016-17 season and posted three assists and a -2 rating. Going into the offseason, it was expected that Pateryn would serve as an ideal seventh defender for the Dallas defensive core in the 2017-18 season.

After training camp, Pateryn came out as the eighth or ninth defenseman on the depth chart. But that didn’t stop him. He kept working hard at practice and in the film room and was given his first chance in the lineup at the end of October.

Following that, Pateryn played in 73 consecutive games to close out the season. It was an incredible bounce back for the young defenseman and helped build up his experience and reputation on the Stars and in the NHL.

2017-18 Season Recap

The 2017-18 season was the first season in Pateryn’s career where he was given an extensive chance. And he made sure to firmly grab hold of the opportunity.

As stated above, Greg Pateryn spent opening night wearing a suit and sitting in the press box. He served as a healthy scratch for the first nine games of the season and was considered to be at the bottom of the depth chart (below Julius Honka and Jamie Oleksiak). But it didn’t stop him from working his way into the lineup with determination and persistence.

Pateryn continued working hard and eventually earned a chance to start in his first game of the season against Edmonton on Oct. 26.

“He’s a real pro,” head coach Ken Hitchcock said before a game against Montreal in November. “He could have taken it the wrong way because he was placed at 8 or 9 at the end of training camp. But he stayed there, did all of the extra work and he worked hard with Rick [Wilson] and he went to film sessions. He acted and behaved like a 5/6.”

After working his way into the lineup, Pateryn made sure that he was not removed via his consistent play. He played a tight game defensively, focusing on using his size and reach to protect the defensive zone. As a defensive defenseman, he’s never been known for being a heavy contributor on offense. But he makes up for it by giving up minimal chances in the other end and constantly hounding the puck and blocking shots.

Alongside his defensive partner Dan Hamhuis, Pateryn became a regular NHL defender and played second pairing minutes. He proved to be trustworthy in big game situations, played valuable minutes on the penalty kill, and wasn’t afraid to drop the gloves when the situation called for it. No. 29 used his size to his advantage and gave the Stars an extra boost in physicality.

“He’s just the same every night,” Hitchcock said. “He competes like hell, he’s a great character player, he draws us into the fight, and he’s not afraid of anybody. He’s a really good add for our team right now.”

“And the way he battles and claws and fights for the team, he’s not going to come out,” added the coach of Pateryn’s status in November. “He’s not going to allow himself to come out based on his character and his compete level, and it’s brought our team into a whole other level.”

Pateryn ended up playing 73 games for the Dallas Stars, which all happened to be in a row. That’s a tough go for a player that had never played more than 38 games in a given season. And even though his production and his effectiveness tailed off towards the end (along with the rest of the team), he still finished with a solid performance. Pateryn finished his first full season with Dallas with one goal and 13 points along with a +6 rating in an average of 19:37 on the ice. He also logged 155 hits (third on the team) and blocked 148 shots (second on the team).

It was a solid first season that any fifth-round defensive defenseman would be proud of. Pateryn was one of the surprise players on the Stars’ roster and proved that he is ready to be a full-time starting defender.

Contract Situation

Greg Pateryn picked a good year to play his first full season and prove his capabilities simply because it came in a contract year. The defenseman played out the last year of a two-year deal that he signed with the Canadiens in July 2015. The two-year deal was worth a cap hit and AAV of $800,000.

Considering Pateryn is only 27 years old, that was a solid deal for the Stars and they squeezed out every penny of it. He was the second-lowest paid defender on the Dallas roster behind Stephen Johns.

A Realistic Asking Price

Pateryn’s asking price may be the most difficult one to predict out of all of the Dallas Stars UFAs. That’s because he is in a unique situation.

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Unlike the others, Pateryn just finished his first full season in the NHL. And unlike many of the others, he’s only 27 and still has a lot of potential left to be tapped into. So how many teams will come knocking on his door? That’s the question. If there are a few who want his skills on their blue line, the price may end up floating up. Make no mistake that Pateryn may be one of the highest-sought UFA defenders on the market this summer.

At this point, a deal somewhere in the range of 2-4 years with a cap hit and AAV in the range of $2-3 million seems about right. He’s definitely due for a raise and a longer-term deal, but it shouldn’t be carried out of proportion.

Pros To Re-signing Him

A big pro to potentially re-signing Pateryn is that the Stars know what they are getting. Dallas knows that they are getting a large and productive defenseman that has yet to hit his prime and still has room to grow even more. Though he isn’t a generational talent, he’s a valuable asset for depth purposes.

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  • Pateryn is a larger defender at 6-3, 224 pounds. And though the Stars have Stephen Johns and Marc Methot, it’s important to stock up on size on the blue line.

    He’s a physical, defensive defenseman that uses his size to his advantage both at even strength and on the penalty kill. Pateryn is good at blocking passing lanes, taking away scoring chances by giving up the body, and laying out heavy hits in an attempt to create turnovers.

    “I think just sticking to my game and realizing that I don’t need to go out there and have a highlight reel game the first time I go out there,” he said in November. “They just want a simple, solid, reliable game out of me and I think I just kept on telling myself that if I stick to that, everything will work out.”

    If the Dallas Stars re-sign him, it could very well be a smart move. He’s a solid second-pairing defender that can play big minutes in a number of situations and work to the benefit of the Stars.

    Cons To Re-signing Him

    The major con is similar to the con about Dan Hamhuis. In the end, it all comes down to space issues and potential overcrowding. Pateryn is a right-handed defenseman. Some other right-handed shooters in the Dallas lineup include John Klingberg, Stephen Johns, and Julius Honka.

    So re-signing Pateryn would make four, which could unleash havoc. While Klingberg and Johns earned their starting spots this past year, Honka didn’t. If Pateryn were to stay and force Honka to spend another year in the press box, what would happen to the #FreeHonka movement? Would there finally be riots?

    And if Jim Montgomery goes the younger route and chooses Honka over Pateryn, why have no. 29 in the first place? He proved this season that he can be a regular starting defender in the NHL. So why would he want to sign a contract and play as seventh man next year? Both sides know he is better and worth more than that.

    If Dallas were to bring Pateryn back, his spot in the lineup may come with questioning. On top of that, how much would he cost? Would it be worth the investment? And if Dallas really is trying to start a youth movement and give the younger players more exposure, is this a right way of doing that?

    The Bottom Line

    When it’s all said and done, Greg Pateryn is a solid defenseman with a respectable ceiling. He made some big strides in his career in 2017-18 and proved his abilities.

    The chances of the Dallas Stars re-signing both Pateryn and his partner Dan Hamhuis are incredibly slim. Though the pairing was one of the most consistent for the Stars this year, both players offer a similar skill set and can do many of the same things on the ice.

    Pateryn came to Dallas via trade in a lost season and worked his way up through perseverance. This past season, he earned his playing time and was an influential reason as to why the Stars defense turned such a significant corner.

    There’s no question that he can still go higher and prove to be even more effective. But will it come at the cost of younger players? Or will it cost them a hefty penny that might handcuff them in the cap later on? After all, Pateryn has only played one full season. It was a good one, but can he keep it up? Those are the questions at hand.

    Next: Top 25 Stars Games Of 2017-18: No. 20-16

    Should the Stars bring back the growing defenseman and continue pushing forward with Pateryn as the ideal depth defender?

    FURTHER READING: Mike McKenna’s UFA Situation, Kari Lethonen’s UFA Situation, Dan Hamhuis’ UFA Situation