The Dallas Stars are busying completing several roster transactions today, including signing prospect Mark McNeill to a one-year two-way extension. No financial details have been released. With the one-year term, McNeill could be eligible for Group VI free agency next summer if he does not spend most of the season with Dallas.
McNeill was acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks at the trade deadline this year in return for Johnny Oduya, and will be on some of his last legs as a prospect. Already 24, McNeill has never been able to live up to his 18th-overall billing, suiting up for just two NHL games. His goal scoring took a substantial step backwards this year even in the minors, where he registered just nine goals in 79 games split between Rockford and Texas. Expected to be a power forward capable of scoring 20 goals a season when he was drafted, he’ll try to make enough of an impact to force an NHL look this year.
The Stars will hope he can, as they could use some secondary scoring next year. The Stars had just five forwards score at least 15 goals last season, and one of them—Patrick Eaves—has already re-signed with the Anaheim Ducks. While Tyler Segun and Jamie Benn are offensive forces, and Brett Ritchie looks like he’s growing into power forward role, goals were hard to come by for the rest of the team. A surprising breakout from a player like McNeill would be a huge boost as the Stars try to make it back to the playoffs in 2017-18.