The start of the Dallas Stars free agency has been fairly active to begin July. The team brought in several veteran players to support a group that made a strong run to the Western Conference semifinals. Dallas has added three players who played in the NHL in 2018-19 in the past week. That number does not include people who will start in the AHL. None of Dallas’ moves are earth-shattering, but all are smart decisions geared towards making an even deeper postseason run in 2019-20.
Dallas Signs Two Major Veterans
The two biggest moves of Dallas’ summer were the signings of former San Jose Shark Joe Pavelski and former Anaheim Duck Corey Perry. The two Pacific Division veterans will likely split between the second and third lines to provide experience and toughness. Pavelski was the more productive of the two after scoring 38 goals and 64 points in 75 games this past season.
He immediately replaces Mats Zuccarello on the Stars second line after the former New York Ranger went to the Minnesota Wild. He missed significant time in the playoffs due to a head injury incurred during the first round, but still contributed nine points in 13 postseason games. Pavelski could very well support the first power play unit with his new team in addition to being a top-six forward.
Perry had a rough season. The long-time Anaheim star lost a step or two in his worst professional season in the NHL. He scored just six goals and 10 points in 31 games with the Ducks. His previous low was 25 points in his rookie 2005-06 season. His play dropped off so significantly that Anaheim actually bought out the remainder of his contract to send him to free agency.
Dallas is hoping that a summer of rest can return the 6’3″ wing to his former glory. Perry will be a fine addition to the bottom-six and could contribute on both the power play and penalty kill.
Stars Free Agency Adds Veteran On The Blue Line
The team didn’t forget about the defense on July 1 when they signed former Edmonton Oiler Andrej Sekera to a one-year deal worth $1.75 million. Sekera posted just four points in 24 games with Edmonton this past year. His offense has declined sharply over the past two years after contributing 35 points in 2016-17, but much of this is due to ACL and Achilles injuries.
With Dallas’ blue line group in strong shape, Sekera will end up on the third pair and penalty kill team. He could be a surprise addition if he can play healthy and regain some of his old scoring touch.
What Dallas Could Still Do
Stars free agency doesn’t have much money left to work with. The team has approximately $2.47 million cap space left to use for more talent acquisition. The team is likely to focus on cheap options both young and old. They signed forward Tanner Kero to a deal worth $1.47 million. Kero will probably start the season with AHL Texas but does have 72 games of NHL experience in the event someone gets hurt.
He has posted eight goals and 22 points in his career, all with the Chicago Blackhawks. The team could also look at cheap options for the bottom-six. Someone like Sven Andrighetto or Devante Smith-Pelly might work on Dallas’ fourth line. A veteran defender like Dan Girardi could also decide to take a low-cost deal to make a run at the Cup.