The month of June has arrived, and that means that the thick of the hockey offseason is quickly approaching. What all do the Dallas Stars have to look forward to in the month ahead? Here’s a list of some of the key moments to mark on your calendar.
There’s nothing like the month of June for the Dallas Stars and the rest of the NHL.
With the World Championship in the rearview mirror, the Stanley Cup Final quickly reaching an end, and 29 teams getting their to-do lists ready for the summer ahead, the month of June provides a perfect stage for immense change and excitement. And when you consider that the fans of the 29 teams have been without their version of exciting hockey action for anywhere from a week to two months, June provides every fan a chance to embrace their team for a thrilling offseason journey.
That’s because June is the clean slate month in the NHL. Once the Stanley Cup Final is awarded, the other 30 teams give a quick stick tap to the champions. But from there, everyone falls onto a level playing field. The season is over and all the focus shifts to the year ahead. Every team is 0-0-0 and has an opportunity to put themselves in the best possible position to contend before the new season arrives.
That all starts in the month ahead. And for the Dallas Stars, it looks as though it will be another offseason filled with intriguing questions and tough decisions as they try and build on their success from the 2018-19 campaign.
And since their offseason officially began 23 days ago, they’ve already been actively working through their to-do list. They re-signed pending RFA Esa Lindell to a six-year contract extension one week after exit interviews and checked off a rather sizable box on their list for the summer.
But there is still much more to be done. As the Stars prepare for the “big day” of the offseason on July 1, there are moves and decisions that must be made. It’s what makes the offseason both stressful and fun for organizations and fans.
And so, as a Dallas Stars fan, you may struggle trying to keep up with all of the happenings in the month of June. If so, there’s nothing to worry about.
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Here’s a quick rundown of all of the important dates and events coming up in the month of June. Go ahead and grab your calendars.
1. Draft Combine
As the Boston Bruins and St. Louis Blues prepare for Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final on Saturday night, the other 29 teams are wrapping up their stays at the 2019 NHL Draft Combine in Buffalo, New York.
The Combine is an opportunity for all of the top prospects in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft to show off their physical skills in a variety of tests while also meeting with a handful of teams that may consider drafting them. It’s an up-close examination of the talent in the upcoming class and gives GMs, coaches, and scouts the chance to further assess the players that they may want to spend a pick on.
2. NHL schedule release
One of the more exciting and less stressful times of the month of June in the NHL revolves around both the preseason and regular season schedule release.
The release is typically wedged in-between the end of the Stanley Cup Final and the first day of the Entry Draft, meaning that anywhere between June 12-21 could be a good guess for this summer. It’s a chance for all 31 teams to get a firsthand glimpse of who they will face in the preseason, who they will meet up with on opening night, and how their schedule pans out in its entirety across the entire 2019-20 campaign.
Will the Dallas Stars once again open the season on home ice (marking it nine consecutive opening nights at the American Airlines Center)? And where will they be traveling during the winter holidays for fans trying to plan a trip to an opposing arena? When does a certain opponent make their first stop in Dallas?
All will be revealed with the schedule release. As of right now, all we know is that the Stars will play a neutral-site game against the Florida Panthers in Tulsa, Oklahoma as part of their 2019 preseason slate. We should know the rest here in the next two or three weeks.
3. First buyout period
The first buyout period of the 2019 offseason is scheduled for June 17, 2019. This is the first opportunity for all NHL teams to begin buying out the contracts of players on their roster in an effort to remove them from the team.
Typically, teams may attempt to trade an unwanted contract of a player on their team. But if they cannot get anything done, the buyout route is the next feasible option.
It’s unclear of whether or not the Dallas Stars plan on buying out any contracts this summer. There have yet to be any public rumblings, but the Stars did buy out the contract of Antti Niemi in the 2016-17 season. So, it’s always an option for GM Jim Nill.
4. 2019 NHL Awards
The 2019 NHL Awards show will be held at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada on Wednesday, June 19. It’s an opportunity for all of the finalists and winners of various NHL Awards to get together and reminisce on the season. The show will also be broadcasted on NBCSN.
This is an important awards show for Dallas Stars fans. Stars goaltender Ben Bishop was named a finalist for the Vezina Trophy (given annually to the league’s top goaltender) back in April alongside Andrei Vasilevskiy and Robin Lehner.
If Bishop wins, it would be the first Vezina Trophy won by a Stars goaltender in franchise history. Stay tuned on that front.
In addition, the NHL Fan Choice Awards will be announced on June 15. The Fan Choice Awards are determined via fan voting and span out across 20 different categories. For more information and to vote for your favorite Stars, click here.
5. 2019 NHL Entry Draft
The 2019 NHL Entry Draft is headed north of the border this year.
The draft will be held at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, B.C. and will kick off on June 21 with the first round. Following that, rounds 2-7 will kick off on Saturday morning.
The Dallas Stars only hold four picks in this year’s draft at the moment and will start their draft class off with the 18th overall selection in the first round. They do not own a second-round pick (traded to New York for Mats Zuccarello), third-round pick (traded to New Jersey for Ben Lovejoy), or seventh-round pick (traded to Toronto for Connor Carrick).
6. UFA/RFA deadlines
Immediately following the draft, all 31 teams will shift their focus to July 1 and the opening of the free agent signing period. It’s a chance for teams to go for a big fish, round out their lineup with a few smaller signings, or do a little bit of both.
But before July 1 arrives, the teams will have some UFA and RFA negotiations to handle.
Starting on June 23, all unrestricted free agents that have yet to sign extensions with their current teams will be allowed to meet and talk with other clubs showing interest. For the Stars, that might mean Jason Spezza, Roman Polak, Ben Lovejoy, and maybe even Mats Zuccarello getting the chance to talk to opposing teams. Until then, however, Dallas owns the negotiating rights for all of their pending UFAs.
June 25 serves as the deadline for all NHL teams to qualify their pending RFAs. To qualify an RFA, all a club has to do is distribute a qualifying offer that meets the salary and term requirements based on the RFA in question. The Dallas Stars have ten RFAs in their system, with Jason Dickinson, Brett Ritchie, Mattias Janmark, and Julius Honka leading the list.
7. Dallas Stars development camp
To round out a busy month of June, the Dallas Stars will host their annual development camp. The camp will run from June 25-28 and will be held at the Comerica Center in Frisco, Texas.
It’s an annual chance for the Stars’ management, coaches, and fans to see some of the organization’s top prospects on the ice and assess their skills and performance. In addition to some of the more-tenured prospects, the 2019 draft class will also likely be in attendance.
The roster and schedule for the on-ice sessions will be released later in the month.
As you can see, there’s a lot going on and a lot to keep an eye on as the Stars set out on their journey through the month of June. They have a lot to accomplish as they build towards July 1, so the clock is ticking.
Let’s see what all they can conjure up in the month ahead.