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The Dallas Stars made a move this offseason to boost their defensive back line. The Stars snatched veteran Dan Hamhuis from the Vancouver Canucks, signing for two years and $7.5 million.
The 33-year-old defenseman has played 872 games, including 62 playoff games over his 12 years in the NHL. He stands 6-1, weighing 210, and while that doesn’t seem that big in stature, it is a size increase from Goligoski (5-11, 185) and Russell (5-10, 170). He’s praised for his defensive awareness and goals allowed while on ice.
This is great signing for the Stars. Money wise, Hamhuis’s 2 year/$7.5 million is considerably cheap compared to veteran defenseman. Plus, that cheap contract is at the perfect length for the Stars who’s core defensemen are filled with young talent. Much like an experienced Johnny Oduya, the Stars bring in a player who has played in big moments, in big games in the playoffs. The Stars hope Hamhuis helps fill the lack of defensive awareness the team dealt with last season.
The Stars also resigned winger Patrick Eaves to a one-year deal. The 32-year-old Eaves had a second consecutive season hindered with injury playing in 54 games this past season. However, Eaves’s impact was felt in the playoffs. In nine games Eaves had six points (three goals, three assists) and played on both sides of the special team units. The terms of the new contract have not been released yet.
What’s Next for the Stars
The Hamhuis signing seemed to have shut the door for any further free agent signings this offseason for the Stars. Even before the signing, General Manager Jim Nill said he would be happy with the team going into next season. That means a couple of things…
For one, the Stars are more than likely not making any additional moves this offseason. Concerns mounted about goaltending as soon as Game 7 against the Blues ended and many thought there would be movement in that position this offseason. Nill and the front office flirted with the likes of Ben Bishop in Tampa Bay and Marc Andre Fleury in Pittsburgh. However, nothing came about for either player and the Stars seem content to start the season, at least, with Lehtonen and Niemi splitting time.
It also seems the Stars will be relying on their young guys a lot more this season. For years, the Stars have been grooming talented prospects with their Affiliate teams. Names such as Esa Lindell (seen briefly last year) Stephen Johns, Patrick Nemeth and Brett Ritchie will get a full season under their belts, chewing up valuable ice-time in the NHL. The development has been in the works for awhile and Nill and Head Coach Lindy Ruff believe that their young core are ready to take that next step in the NHL to keep this team as top contenders.
Additionally, some key players were lost to other teams in free agency. Colton Sceviour joined the Florida Panthers. The 27-year-old spent two consecutive full seasons with the Stars getting 49 points during his time with the Stars. Jason Demers also joined the Panthers after playing his first full season in Dallas (Demers was traded to the Stars for Brenden Dillon in the 2014-15 season). The biggest void to fill will be the loss of Vern Fiddler. Fiddler was a key face-off winner and work-horse on the penalty-kill. The 36-year-old joined the New Jersey Devils.