The Tyler Seguin speculation came to a head recently when the superstar center repeatedly used the word “disappointed” in reference to his contract situation. Seguin and the Dallas Stars got back together soon after that, and now according to Mark Stepneski of NHL.com the team believes they’re headed in the right direction. In fact, GM Jim Nill used exactly those words to explain how he feels about the negotiations:
We are deep in discussions. It’s moving in the right direction. We’ll go from there.
I’d like to get it done before the season starts, but with negotiations, you never know. But I think both parties would like to get it done before.
Getting Seguin under contract before the season starts would be a huge boost for a Dallas team looking to bounce back from a disappointing season in 2017-18. Though their top offensive players produced at an extremely high level, they weren’t able to find enough secondary scoring to have any real consistency. They’ve tried to address that problem by bringing in players like Valeri Nichushkin and Blake Comeau, while also signing Anton Khudobin to make sure they have a solid goaltending tandem once again. Seguin’s contract situation will be a daily distraction if it lingers into the season, especially given the recent example set by John Tavares.
Seguin would easily be one of the top free agents on the market next summer, and if the season progresses without a contract the Stars would be forced to consider a trade. Though they obviously want to keep their star first-line center for as long as possible, watching an asset of that level walk out of town with no return is a tough pill for an organization looking to compete. Regaining cap space is one thing, but the Stars want to be among the Stanley Cup contenders as soon as this season and would have no internal replacement for a player of Seguin’s quality.
Just six forwards are scheduled to carry a cap hit of at least $10MM in the 2018-19 season, but Seguin could easily find his way into that group. It will be interesting to see though if captain Jamie Benn’s $9.5MM is a sort of internal threshold that the team isn’t willing to eclipse, and whether they can get Seguin under contract for a similar number. Currently carrying just a $5.75MM cap hit, Seguin is one of the best bargains in the NHL. Watch for his 15-team no-trade clause for this season to potentially be upgraded to a full no-movement clause if an extension is reached, guaranteeing his place in Dallas for a long time.