Offseason Checklist for the Dallas Stars

Offseason Checklist for the Dallas Stars

With the offseason underway, the Dallas Stars have a list of priorities to address. Here’s a look at their main tasks for the summer.

Review of 2023 Season
The Stars had a relatively quiet offseason in 2023, with Matt Duchene being their notable addition. Despite this, they were eliminated in the Western Conference Final once again. Key contributions from rising stars like Wyatt Johnston and a breakout performance from defenseman Thomas Harley helped Dallas achieve 113 regular-season points, their second-highest in franchise history. However, they face a major change with veteran Joe Pavelski expected to retire. General Manager Jim Nill, coming off his second Jim Gregory GM of the Year Award, will likely undertake some minor adjustments this summer.

Fill a Top-Six Forward Spot
While the Stars had a strong offense last season, finishing third in the NHL, they risk losing significant contributors Pavelski and Duchene (a pending UFA), who combined for 52 goals and 132 points. If both leave, the team cannot rely solely on improvements from Johnston or rookies like Mavrik Bourque and Logan Stankoven to fill the gap.

Re-signing Duchene, who was effective with a $3M cap hit, would be ideal. He’s open to staying in Dallas at a discount, partly because he’s still receiving payments from his buyout by the Nashville Predators. If Duchene isn’t retained, the Stars will need a top-six right wing under $5M per season. Tyler Seguin could still handle a top-six role, but the team would need an upgrade over Evgenii Dadonov, who had only 23 points in 51 games. Free agents like Anthony Duclair, Anthony Mantha, or Vladimir Tarasenko could be viable options.

Start Oettinger Extension Talks
Jake Oettinger, despite some inconsistency, remains a top-10 netminder. His career-low .905 save percentage this season was still above average, and he has shown game-changing potential, such as his .919 save percentage and 37-11-11 record in the 2022-23 season. With one year left on his three-year, $4M AAV bridge deal, GM Nill should consider a long-term extension early this summer. A deal slightly over $8M annually would be a good value compared to recent contracts for other top goalies.

New Deal for Harley
Thomas Harley, an important RFA for the Stars, needs a new contract after his entry-level deal. Drafted 18th overall in 2019, Harley secured a top-pairing role alongside Miro Heiskanen and recorded 15 goals and 47 points in 79 games. With a strong possession game, he is a core piece for the Stars. Given the team’s cap situation, a bridge deal around two years with a $4M AAV, as suggested by Evolving Hockey, seems likely.

Add RD Depth
Dallas has a stable left defense with Esa Lindell and Suter behind Harley, but the right side is less certain. Nill aims to retain trade deadline acquisition Chris Tanev, who performed well in a second-pairing role. Even if Tanev returns, depth on the right side is needed.

Jani Hakanpää could be re-signed cheaply but offers similar skills to Tanev and might be expendable if Tanev stays. Nils Lundkvist struggled in the playoffs and may not be relied upon, while prospect Lian Bichsel, a lefty, would be unsuitable for the right side. Therefore, acquiring a right-shot defender will be a priority when the UFA market opens on July 1.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *