The Dallas Stars were eliminated from Stanley Cup contention by the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday, and today held their final media availability. For one player at least, the focus was on his pending free agency and whether he would be open to return. Mats Zuccarello was acquired at the trade deadline and made quite the impact on the Stars lineup, and now the team must decide if he’s worth extending. One of the conditions on the trade was that a 2020 third-round selection will upgrade to a first if the diminutive forward re-ups with Dallas, another variable that needs to be taken into account.
For his part, Zuccarello expressed to reporters including Sean Shapiro of The Athletic that he was happy the Stars showed faith in him with the trade. He even told Matthew DeFranks of the Dallas Morning News that he likes knowing “when someone believes in you and wants you.” The 31-year old recorded three points in his two regular season games with the Stars, and 11 in 13 postseason contests.
- Jason Spezza is another pending free agent up front, and will turn 36 before he hits the open market. Two years in a row Spezza was unable to hit the 10 goal or 30-point threshold during the regular season, but after being made a healthy scratch early was actually quietly effective in the playoffs. Spezza dismissed any notion of retirement today when he told Shapiro that he plans on playing next season. The veteran forward noted that free agency will be a new experience for him, given the long-term deals he has signed in the past.
- Roope Hintz, who is far from an unrestricted free agent after emerging as a rookie sensation down the stretch and into the playoffs, revealed that he played game seven with a broken foot. Hintz had been spotted in a walking boot earlier in the week, but incredibly logged nearly 24 minutes of ice time in the marathon double-OT game. The 22-year old forward looks like he will be a mainstay in the Dallas top-six for many years after his performance, which resulted in eight points in 13 games and some memorable defensive efforts.