Despite earlier rumors that the Dallas Stars and unrestricted free agent Mats Zuccarello have mutual interest to get a deal done, it looks like it might not be as easy as it seemed. Dallas general manager Jim Nill said that Zuccarello has decided he wants to test the open market before deciding, according to NHL.com’s Mike Heika.
That doesn’t mean a deal will come about as both sides could be interested in what Zuccarello could fetch on the open market. At 31 years of age, the Stars may be hesitant to give him anything more than a four-year deal, but if both teams are truly interested in staying together, they could just be looking to see what other teams offer him first.
“We’ve talked a little bit with his agent, but he wants to test the free-agent market and he’s got that right,” Nill said. “So they going to look into the market and see what else is out there and then we will swing back and see where he’s at. We’ve got an interview period that starts Sunday, so we’ll start talking to other people and he’ll do the same thing and we’ll see where things go.”
Zuccarello came to Dallas in a trade deadline deal with the New York Rangers for a 2019 second-round pick, which turned out to be defensive prospect Matthew Robertson, and a conditional first-round pick, meaning if Dallas does sign Zuccarello to an extension, the Stars would give the Rangers a 2020 first-rounder. If not, they would give New York a third-round pick instead. However, Zuccarello looked to be a good fit, helping Dallas fill out its second line. Despite suffering a broken arm in his first game with the Stars and only playing two regular season games, the 31-year-old scored four goals and 11 points in 13 playoff games before the Stars fell to the eventual Stanley Cup Champion Blues.
- Sticking with the Stars, The Athletic’s Sean Shapiro (subscription required) writes that the trade value of Dallas defenseman Julius Honka has increased since the NHL announced the salary cap to be set at $81.5MM for the 2019-20 season. Despite the struggles that Honka has had in finding a role with the Stars, several teams should be looking for an inexpensive defenseman with potential. Honka, a restricted free agent, requires a qualifying offer of $874K, and could be valuable to teams such as the Toronto Maple Leafs and the San Jose Sharks, who might need some solid depth options on their defense. Shapiro, however, indicates, that the return for Honka still wouldn’t be that significant.
- Mark Lazerus of The Athletic reports that Chicago Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman confirmed the team will give a qualifying offer to forward Brendan Perlini. The 23-year-old struggled after initially coming over from Arizona in November, but started to improve late in the season, finishing with 12 goals and 15 points in 46 games with the Blackhawks. Bowman did admit that the Blackhawks might let some of their restricted free agents walk, although newly acquired John Quenneville will be signed as well.
- The Tennessean’s Paul Skrbina writes that one reason that Nashville Predators general manager David Poile felt comfortable trading defenseman P.K. Subban Saturday was because of the play of Dante Fabbro. The 21-year-old, the team’s first-round pick from 2016, signed with Nashville after completing his junior season at Boston University and played in four regular season games, as well as six playoff games, scoring one goal and one assist in those 10 combined games. Fabbro is the likley candidate to take over Subban’s minutes next season.