This offseason, the Dallas Stars let go of three veteran blueliners in Jason Demers, Alex Goligoski, and Kris Russell to make room on their back end for some of their promising youngsters including Esa Lindell and Patrik Nemeth. However, the team did add one veteran to the mix when they signed Dan Hamhuis to a two year, $7.5MM deal early in free agency. While at first glance, it may seem a bit odd to let veterans go to make room for younger players and then sign another veteran, GM Jim Nill told Mike Heika of the Dallas News that this was the plan all along.
“It’s going to be different, because we’re getting younger, we’re getting bigger and we’re getting faster on the backend. We’ve talked about how we’ve got this young defense coming. Now’s their time. But things didn’t just get thrown against the wall. This has been the plan, and we’ve still got a veteran presence there.”
Hamhuis spent last season in a top four role with Vancouver, collecting three goals and ten assists in 58 games while logging 21:25 of ice time per game. He’s likely to reprise that same role in Dallas, either in a top pairing role with John Klingberg or in a second pairing spot with one of their young defenders.
[Related: Stars’ Depth Chart]
Elsewhere from the Western Conference:
- One key attribute that Colorado GM Joe Sakic will be looking for in their next coach is the ability to teach, writes Terry Frei of the Denver Post. The Avs will be counting on several young players to play key roles next season beyond so finding the right fit that can continue to help those players develop will be critical. They’re down to a shortlist of four coaches, all of which have recent experience dealing with and developing young players.
- Anaheim captain Ryan Getzlaf has accelerated his normal offseason training in preparation for the upcoming World Cup of Hockey, he told NHL.com’s Abbey Mastracco. He also has made a change in his training plan, opting to focus less on bulk and more on endurance and durability which will be that much more important this year given the preseason tournament and Anaheim’s hopes for a long postseason run.
- A pair of Western Conference junior prospects have seen their OHL rights traded for each other. Los Angeles fifth round pick Matt Schmalz has been dealt from Sudbury to Owen Sound in exchange for St. Louis sixth rounder Liam Dunda. Both prospects will need to be signed by June 1st, 2017 or their teams will lose their rights.