Dallas Stars Sign Jason Dickinson To Opportunistic Two-Year Extension

DALLAS, TEXAS - MAY 01: Jason Dickinson #16 of the Dallas Stars celebrates a goal against the St. Louis Blues during the first period of Game Four of the Western Conference Second Round of the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at American Airlines Center on May 1, 2019 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TEXAS - MAY 01: Jason Dickinson #16 of the Dallas Stars celebrates a goal against the St. Louis Blues during the first period of Game Four of the Western Conference Second Round of the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at American Airlines Center on May 1, 2019 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

Less than one week after filing for arbitration, Jason Dickinson and the Dallas Stars agreed to a contract extension on Thursday morning. With the new deal, the young forward has a chance to further prove himself and build on a strong first full year in Dallas.

Following the busyness of July 1, the Dallas Stars faced a pretty straightforward path to their 2019 Training Camp session.

And while that path included a small handful of uncertainties, such as where and when the team may trade defenseman Julius Honka and how the negotiations with their qualified RFA prospects would go, there was one certainty standing at the center of their to-do list: signing qualified RFA Jason Dickinson to an extension.

Dickinson was one of the top RFA names on the Stars’ list going into the 2019 offseason, sitting near players like Esa Lindell and Mattias Janmark. But while Lindell was signed to a five-year extension (and rightly so) one week after the team’s playoff journey ended and Janmark inked a one-year extension in early June, Dickinson was left unsigned by the time the RFA qualifying deadline rolled around on June 25.

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And so, the team qualified the 24-year-old forward and continued their efforts to work out a new contract. 10 days later, Dickinson filed for arbitration. But it was more of a safety net procedure than anything.

Players that file for arbitration rarely make it to their scheduled hearing because teams usually make the extra push to get a deal done beforehand. If Dickinson couldn’t get a deal done, though, the arbitration hearing would have guaranteed that he would have a new contract before the 2019-20 season began.

He won’t have to worry about that now, though.

On Thursday morning, the Stars announced that they had come to terms on a two-year extension with Dickinson. The deal carries an AAV of $1.5 million and will keep Dickinson in Dallas through the 2020-21 season before he once again becomes an RFA.

With the signing, the Dallas Stars will not have to deal with any arbitration hearings this summer and only have two qualified RFAs in the organization that still need a contract (being Julius Honka and Niklas Hansson).

But for Dickinson, it was a deal that needed to be done. And when considering the term and AAV, it’s very much a “prove-it” deal for the young forward. That’s just what he needs.

Dickinson wasn’t offered the clearcut path to the NHL that many prospects get to enjoy. Instead, his was a path filled with a crowded forward group in Dallas and a coaches carousel that worked against him.

After scoring in his NHL debut at the end of the 2015-16 season and adding 10 more games to his resume during the 2016-17 season, Dickinson seemed like a viable option to be a full-time NHL starter as the 2017-18 campaign approached.

But after being a part of 17 different transactions that consistently passed him between the NHL and AHL and an inability to earn sufficient and consistent playing time in a manageable role under Ken Hitchcock, Dickinson took an unexpected tumble down the depth chart.

"“I think it was a mentality. I think, a lot of the call-ups last year in the second half of the season after I had had the first few where I felt like I could really contribute and I didn’t; after that, I was just coming up here and I was trying not to lose games. I was trying not to let the guys down. Unfortunately, that’s not a great way to go into games. It’s going to hurt you more times than not because you’re just going to be scared to make plays and you’re not going to make great reads. It worked against me.” – Jason Dickinson on his 2017-18 season, Nov. 2018"

But, unlike some prospects who are put in a similar situation, he found his footing. With the hiring of Jim Montgomery and a shift in the organization’s culture, Dickinson earned a spot in the starting lineup during the early part of the 2018-19 season and made a quick impact.

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Dickinson finished the season with career highs in goals (6), points (22), and plus-minus rating (+9) in 67 games played. He followed that performance up with three goals and five points in 13 games in his Stanley Cup Playoffs debut.

In his first full season with the team, Dickinson proved to be a solid and consistent option with an ability to play and produce anywhere in the lineup. He played top line minutes with Tyler Seguin and Alexander Radulov, helped round out the team’s second line alongside Roope Hintz and Mats Zuccarello during the playoff run, and also spent plenty of time on the third and fourth lines both on the wings and at center. In addition, he was one of the team’s better penalty killers.

He’s a versatile forward that can fill many different voids and play responsibly in all three zones using his size and speed. He took a substantial step forward in his first full season at the NHL level and seems to be a sizable piece of the Dallas Stars’ future.

“He’s someone that I really trust because he plays the right way,” Montgomery said of Dickinson back in November.

“It’s been nice,” Dickinson said of his new opportunity in November. “I mean, I’ve always believed in myself. Coming into this season, I didn’t think I deserved anything less. It’s just been a matter of putting it together. I try to do the little things on the ice. I try to be on the right side of the puck. It took a few games to get some bounces my way in order to get on the scoresheet to make it look even better than what I was doing. It’s nice to get that recognition and be able to get some more ice time.”

Now, Dickinson has another chance to prove himself. The bridge deal gives Dickinson an extended opportunity to build on his successful season and continue to progress forward. Some players, like Esa Lindell, used a bridge deal to propel himself into a long-term extension with the team. Others, like Brett Ritchie, couldn’t capitalize on his bridge deal after a successful rookie season and became a UFA this summer.

In other words, Dallas Stars GM Jim Nill has granted Dickinson an opportunity to earn his next contract. Earning that deal will require forward progress and consistency (and hopefully less facial scars from pucks and sticks). Dickinson proved his ability to do just that when given the chance in the 2018-19 season. Now, it’s about keeping the consistency.

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“Jason is a conscientious player who plays a very detailed, 200-foot game,” Nill said in the press release. “As last season progressed, he began impacting games night in and night out, and he really established himself during the playoffs. We fully expect him to continue to build upon that and be a big part of our team for years to come.”