The Dallas Stars risked losing Gemel Smith on waivers last week in order to establish his value around the league, and today filed their arbitration figure for the hearing scheduled on Wednesday. Chris Johnston of Sportsnet reports that the Stars have filed for a two-way contract, while Smith submitted a one-way $900K contract request. Sean Shapiro of The Athletic reports that Smith’s two-way qualifying offer is worth $715K.
Brett Kulak, who was also put through the waiver process before his arbitration hearing, and offered a $650K two-way deal by the Calgary Flames, was eventually awarded a $900K contract after filing for $1.15MM. Smith will likely land somewhere in between the two filings, provided he doesn’t settle with the Stars in the next few days. He and Cody Ceci are scheduled to have their hearings on Wednesday.
Smith will be in tough this season as he tries to carve out a bottom-six role on the Stars, and a two-way offer only strengthens the idea that he could find himself behind players like Remi Elie and Jason Dickinson on the depth chart. The additions of Blake Comeau and Valeri Nichushkin have given the Stars more secondary scoring options and left fewer minutes available. Smith will have to show he can contribute in those limited minutes, or face another assignment to the minor leagues. The fact that he’s already cleared waivers recently doesn’t guarantee that he would make it through the process unclaimed in September, but does make it easier for the Stars to risk him if he can’t crack the roster out of training camp.