The Dallas Stars have inked one of the top centers on the market, signing Martin Hanzal to a three-year, $14.25MM deal according to Bob McKenzie of TSN. Hanzal was ranked #4 on our free agent list, where we predicted he would get a fourth year, but agree to a slightly smaller salary.
Instead, the 30-year old Hanzal will go down to Dallas to join Ken Hitchcock and the rest of their group, trying to get the Stars back to the playoffs after an extremely disappointing season. The Stars, losing Cody Eakin to the Vegas Golden Knights needed some help at center behind Tyler Seguin and Jason Spezza, and bringing Hanzal in makes them very deep down the middle.
He can now play that third-line center role and contribute on both the powerplay and penalty kill. Though he saw more than 18 minutes a night in Arizona last year, his role in Dallas is more likely to be closer to the 15:31 he averaged for Minnesota. While $4.75MM might seem like a lot to pay that spot, Dallas had the room to do it and needed to land at least one of the bigger free agent forwards this year. Though linked to Justin Williams, he ended up signing in Carolina with his old team.