Dallas Stars News: Stars Not Re-signing Jason Spezza, Marc Methot

DALLAS, TX - OCTOBER 6: Marc Methot #33 of the Dallas Stars skates against the Winnipeg Jets at the American Airlines Center on October 6, 2018 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - OCTOBER 6: Marc Methot #33 of the Dallas Stars skates against the Winnipeg Jets at the American Airlines Center on October 6, 2018 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images) /

The Dallas Stars have stayed busy over the past month by re-signing some of their pending free agents and beginning negotiations with others. On the other hand, they have also decided to part ways with others. And now, it can be confirmed that two of them will not return to Dallas next year.

Though it may not look like it on the surface, it’s been a pretty busy month for the Dallas Stars.

When the Stars fell one goal short of a trip to the Western Conference Final on May 7 and were effectively knocked out of the Stanley Cup Playoffs by the St. Louis Blues, the next question on their to-do list was the most intriguing: What will the 2019 offseason look like?

It’s a question that is asked at the beginning of every summer, with each answer seeming more dire and important than the year before. Which players will the team sign in free agency? Are they eyeing anyone in a potential trade? Which free agents will they cut ties with? Will they be ready to compete for a Stanley Cup next season?

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Each question comes with a different answer, leaving fans with weeks or months to ponder how each one might eventually be solved. And for the past five weeks, the Stars have been coming up with those answers.

It all began on May 16 when Dallas agreed to a six-year contract extension with defenseman Esa Lindell. After spending his previous two-year contract impressing the management and different coaching staffs with his well-rounded skills and an ability to serve as a consistent top-pairing defender, the Stars made the move to ink him to a long-term and well-paid deal.

A few weeks later, they cut ties with a handful of unsigned free agents within the organization while also signing forward Joel Kiviranta out of Finland.

Last Thursday, they made another free agency splash by re-signing pending UFA Roman Polak to a one-year extension and inking pending RFA Mattias Janmark to another one-year deal.

And while every free agency class boasts players that have performed well and deserve new contracts, they also boast some that have fallen short of expectations and are in need of a change of scenery. The difficult part for management at times can be deciding which players fall into which category.

But for GM Jim Nill, it seems as though he has already made some of those decisions.

Last Tuesday, DallasStars.com Senior Reporter Mike Heika wrote a story on how Jim Nill goes about enduring the busy NHL offseason. From the Draft Combine, to the NHL Entry Draft itself, to free agent negotiations and the opening of the free agency market, he covered many of the important topics that go into a hockey summer.

And, upon further delving into the Dallas Stars and their free agency situation, he pointed out some news regarding pending UFAs Jason Spezza and Marc Methot.

"“The Stars also have sole negotiating rights on their unrestricted free agents until July 1. Nill has already told Jason Spezza and Methot they will not be re-signed, but he is open to negotiations with Mats Zuccarello, Roman Polak, Ben Lovejoy and Taylor Fedun.” – Mike Heika, DallasStars.com"

That’s an interesting and important tidbit.

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  • For one, there’s been heavy speculation that both Spezza and Methot (among others) would be out of Dallas this summer. Spezza’s production has declined significantly over the past two seasons and Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic reported one week after exit interview day that Spezza’s time in Dallas had come to an end.

    Methot, on the other hand, had missed 119 of a possible 164 regular season games due to injury during his time with the Stars. Mix that with the fact that the Dallas defense has transformed into one of the cheapest, youngest, and most effective defenses in the NHL, and it seems as though there isn’t a need for Methot like there was two summers ago when the Stars traded for him.

    But with Nill re-signing Polak (a player whom many believed would also be leaving Dallas) and keeping the door open for negotiations with Lovejoy and Fedun, it seemed as though the option for a potential return might still be on the table.

    With the report, though, it’s clear that neither will be returning to the Stars for the 2019-20 season.

    In Spezza, the Dallas Stars are parting ways with a $7.5 million cap hit. After posting 65 goals and 175 points in 225 games with the Stars from the 2014-15 season to the 2016-17 season, Spezza’s production sunk. In the final two years of a four-year extension that pinned him as the Stars’ highest-paid player at one point, Spezza has just 16 goals and 53 points in 154 games over the past two seasons. He’s been pushed down to the fourth line under two different coaching staffs and has fallen well short of expectations.

    With Methot, Dallas is dropping a $4.9 million cap hit. But when they acquired him in a trade with the Vegas Golden Knights during the 2017 summer, he was supposed to be a fix. The Dallas Stars had just posted the second-worst goals against average in the NHL during the 2016-17 season, were undeniably young and inexperienced on the blue line, and needed veteran help. Methot was supposed to be that help.

    A lingering knee injury that eventually turned into something more serious changed all of that. After playing through the first month of the 2017-18 season, Methot was sidelined and underwent arthroscopic knee surgery to fix an issue. The recovery process kept him sidelined until the calendar turned to 2018, and he eventually returned to the lineup on a consistent basis in February.

    The start of the 2018-19 season saw Methot serving in a sizable role for the Stars and playing decent minutes on a nightly basis. But after playing on Nov. 1 against the Toronto Maple Leafs, he was shut down for what eventually became the rest of the season after having another surgery in January. With that being said, the defensive defenseman will end his career in Dallas with one goal, three points, and a +8 rating in 45 games played.

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    With the thick of the offseason right around the corner, Nill is not only re-signing pending free agents, but also making the decision to cut ties with others.