Last season, the Dallas Stars freed up some cap space at the trade deadline by placing both Martin Hanzal and Marc Methot on LTIR, which allowed the team to go out and acquire New York Rangers forward Mats Zuccarello and Pittsburgh’s Jamie Oleksiak. While Methot’s contract has expired, the team still has Hanzal under contract for one more season and while his on-ice contributions are in question with recurring back issues, his contract could help the team once again.
According to Dallasnews.com’s Matthew DeFranks, the team may be able to do something similar. Hanzal hasn’t played any hockey since before last Christmas and has appeared in only 45 games since signing a three-year, $14.25MM deal back in 2017. However, while there are quite a few variables when dealing with LTIR, the Stars could conceivably open up between $4-5MM in cap space during the season and use that to acquire a player.
- In his most recent mailbag column, the Buffalo News’ Lance Lysowski writes that it’s highly unlikely the Buffalo Sabres will be bringing back veteran forward and current unsigned unrestricted free agent Jason Pominville, even if it’s on a tryout basis. At 36 years old, Pominville still seems to have something to give after posting 16 goals and 31 points last season, but after adding Jimmy Vesey and Marcus Johansson to their roster and with a number of young forwards looking to step up, including Tage Thompson, Victor Olofsson and C.J. Smith, there really isn’t space for Pominville. The team did opt to keep Johan Larsson and Zemgus Girgensons as fourth-line options, where they could have retained Pominville, but both Larsson and Girgensons have penalty kill experience, while Pominville doesn’t.
- Sticking with the Sabres, The Athletic’s Joe Yerdon (subscription required) wonders whether Buffalo Sabres defenseman Lawrence Pilut could be ready to immediately jump in as the team’s No. 2 defenseman on the left side. Pilut, despite recovering from offseason shoulder injury and might miss some time early in the season, played just 33 games for Buffalo, posting a goal and six points, and impressed with his corsi-for with a 53.2 percent, only behind Brandon Montour. The 23-year-old proved in Rochester that he can be a dependable blueliner in his own end. The question is whether he’s ready for the same role in Buffalo.