Late last night, the Dallas Stars announced that they had won out in their battle with the Buffalo Sabres for the right to sign Gavin Bayreuther. The St. Lawrence University defenseman was a free agent and was considering the two teams up until yesterday. The two sides have come to an agreement and will release details today.
Bayreuther was considered one of the top free agents available from the college ranks this year, and for good reason. The 22-year old defenseman has put up 29 points in two straight seasons and generally been a dominant presence on the St. Lawrence blue line for all four years. He’ll go down as the second highest scoring defenseman in school history, behind only Daniel Laperriere, a former St. Louis Blues draft pick and NHL player.
The 6’1″, 195-lbs Bayreuther has much of what any NHL team would be looking for in a defensive prospect; great first pass, solid decision making, hard shot from the point. It’s mostly his positioning and one-on-one battles that need work, and will be challenged at the next level. With some solid professional coaching, he could turn into a nice all-around defenseman.
For the Stars, adding another prospect to their defensive pool can’t hurt as they look to rebuild what has been a shattered blue line. The team has watched Alex Goligoski, Jason Demers, Kris Russell, Johnny Oduya, Jordie Benn, Jyrki Jokipakka and Trevor Daley all leave one way or another over the past couple of years, leaving them with a makeshift lineup behind the stalwart John Klingberg. Now with the youth of Bayreuther, Stephen Johns, Esa Lindell, Julius Honka, Patrik Nemeth and Dillon Heatherington they’ll be able to fill that pipeline once again.
While this signing doesn’t fix everything there is wrong with the Stars—as no one signing would—it does take another step in the right direction for a team that was in first place as recently as last year. We’ll now see how active they are heading into the expansion draft, where they will have several key decisions to make.