Free agency is now a little less than a month away from opening up and there are quite a few prominent players set to hit the open market while many teams have key restricted free agents to re-sign. Here is a breakdown of Dallas’ free agent situation.
Key Restricted Free Agents: F Mattias Janmark — No one was sure how Janmark would respond after missing the 2016-17 season with a knee injury, but the 25-year-old took that next step in his development with a solid season for the Stars this season. No longer hampered by a degenerative knee condition, Janmark put up 19 goals and 34 points this season and found himself on the team’s second line by the end of the season.
The question is what is the young forward worth after a bounce-back season? A quality two-way forward, he has forced his way up the lineup this year, often playing big units for a struggling offense. However, with the season he’s had, don’t be shocked if Janmark has some leverage going into negotiations this summer.
F Devin Shore — Considered to be a key piece for the Stars youth movement, Shore had a solid season as a bottom-line forward as he saw his ice time increase by over a minute between the last two years. The 23-year-old put up 11 goals and 32 points last year, but also had 125 shots and 71 hits on the year. The only down side about Shore’s season is his minus-30 plus-minus ratio, way down from a year ago on a team that was better offensively this season.
Key Unrestricted Free Agents: D Greg Pateryn — Despite a career so far serving as a team’s seventh defensemen, Pateryn found a full-time role with Dallas in 2017-18. The 27-year-old blueliner found his way into the Stars packed defensive lineup and earned the key role as a shutdown defender alongside Dan Hamhuis and often led the team in minutes played. While just posting 13 points in 73 games, Pateryn was quite invaluable and likely can get a big raise as an unrestricted free agent next season.
However, would Dallas consider bringing him back? A favorite of Ken Hitchcock doesn’t necessarily mean that Jim Montgomery would be willing to give him the same role. On top of that, Dallas has more young defenders than ever with John Klingberg, Esa Lindell, Johns, Julius Honka and the addition of last year’s first-round pick Miro Heiskanen. Is there a full-time role for Pateryn or would he be better off looking for a bigger role elsewhere?
Projected Cap Space: With $17.6MM in available cap space (not including the possibility of the cap increasing), the Stars have some cap space and few major commitments to their own free agents. After wading deep into the free agent market a year ago when they signed Alexander Radulov and Martin Hanzal, which had mixed results, the team could consider making another run at another forward as that is where the team needs the most depth.
Of course, the Stars top priority will be to extend star Tyler Seguin this offseason, which will have a huge impact on the team’s future. However, the team could use a quality winger such as James van Riemsdyk, James Neal or David Perron on their second line, which the team needs to rebuild for the coming season.