It was a busy day in the Dallas Stars news world. The Stars said goodbye to skills coach and former alternate captain Vernon Fiddler while also rearranging some jersey numbers to officially incorporate their newest signings. Catch up on all of it below.
It’s only been 48 hours since the Dallas Stars were standing in the hockey world spotlight with another commendable and action-packed July 1 effort.
With their needs evident and their potential set after an impressive 2018-19 campaign, the Stars dove into the opening of Free Agency and came out with three new additions in Joe Pavelski, Corey Perry, and Andrej Sekera. The three are expected to bolster the Dallas roster, shore up its weak areas, and help the team take the next step towards contending for the Stanley Cup in the 2019-20 season.
While they seem to check off a lot of the boxes on the Stars’ list of needs, we won’t know the significance of their contributions until the season gets rolling on Oct. 3.
And with all of the major events of a typical NHL offseason slowly shrinking in the rearview mirror, it’s time to enter the quiet part of the summer. It’s a time for players to wrap up their vacationing time and get back into training and workout regiments, coaches to begin meeting and talking about the game plan for the season ahead, media members to enjoy some much-needed time away from the newsfeeds, and fans to begin gearing up and getting excited for the season ahead.
But while the amount of significant news reported becomes few and far between, there are still some small housekeeping items to take care of. Some of these were taken care of by the Stars on Wednesday afternoon.
Here’s a quick update on what went down on a newsworthy Wednesday.
Vernon Fiddler Moves On To New Chapter
It was announced via social media on Wednesday morning that former Dallas Stars alternate captain Vernon Fiddler would be leaving the organization for another job opportunity. Fiddler took to Twitter to thank the Stars and their fans for making his time in Dallas special and for welcoming him to the state from the moment he arrived as a player.
— Vernon Fiddler (@TheFiddler38) July 3, 2019
Fiddler retired following a Stanley Cup run with the Nashville Predators in 2017 and wrapped up a 14-year career in the NHL, but some of his best years were spent in Dallas.
He entered the league as an undrafted center in the 2002-03 season with the Predators and made another stop in Phoenix before signing with the Stars on July 1, 2011 at the age of 31. What followed was five seasons of Fiddler being one of the heart-and-soul guys in the Dallas lineup, serving as a permanent staple in the fourth line center spot while also chipping in on the power play and penalty kill.
Fiddler was a fan-favorite for many Stars fans simply because of his work ethic, reliability, and grittiness. And though his career extended one year past his time in Dallas, the state of Texas provided some sincere ties for him and his family.
At the beginning of the 2018-19 season, the Dallas Stars hired Fiddler as a skills and development coach. He assisted the team during practices and morning skates throughout the 2018-19 season while also making trips down to Cedar Park, Texas to work with the Texas Stars.
And, as they usually do, his first coaching job has now led to a bigger opportunity. Fiddler was hired as an assistant coach by the Kelowna Rockets in the WHL. Fiddler played for the Rockets during his junior hockey career and has a connection to the team.
While he’ll be missed by Stars fans and the organization alike, he pointed out the impact that the state and franchise had on both his family and himself and ended the note with “#TexasForever.”
New Numbers For New Players
When rumors began spreading that the Dallas Stars were expected to sign forward Joe Pavelski to a three-year deal just before July 1, one of the top questions that arose was in regards to what number he would wear.
With Pavelski wearing No. 8 for the majority of his NHL career and the number already being retired by the franchise in 1992 for former North Stars player Bill Goldsworthy, the veteran decided to switch to No. 16. That number has been donned by Jason Dickinson for the past few years, but Dickinson had no significant tie to it and offered it to Pavelski.
As a result, Dickinson will wear no. 18 in the upcoming season, the number most recently worn by Tyler Pitlick, who was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers on June 24.
Corey Perry wore No. 10 for all but one of his 14 years with the Anaheim Ducks organization. Considering it isn’t currently being worn by any Stars player, he will stick to his roots and keep 10 on his back.
Andrej Sekera has worn a handful of different numbers in his NHL career and most recently donned No. 2 with the Edmonton Oilers. Considering that number is currently occupied by Jamie Oleksiak, Sekera decided on No. 5.
And finally, Andrew Cogliano switched to No. 11 after wearing No. 17 for the final half of the 2018-19 season. Cogliano has never worn the number in his NHL career, but took advantage when the number became available.
Martin Hanzal wore No. 11 in his limited playing stint during the 2018-19 season with the Stars and will now shift to No. 40. When considering that a veteran like Hanzal is willingly changing his number and the current status of Hanzal, it seems as though it’s all but confirmed that he will miss the entirety of the 2019-20 season with a back injury that has plagued him for much of his time in Dallas. He will likely be put on the long-term injured reserve list on opening night and will spend the final year of his contract with Dallas on the list.
That’s all for a relatively intriguing July 3. Back to your prescheduled offseason programming.