Tuesday: Shapiro has new information today it seems, as the Athletic reporter now tweets that Noesen will be joining the Stars on a PTO after all.
Monday: It has been a quiet summer thus far for forward Stefan Noesen, who became an unrestricted free agent earlier this off-season when the New Jersey Devils opted not to extend a qualifying offer. Noesen’s name has hardly been whispered on the rumor mill with so many teams still needing to sign their RFA’s and other talented UFA’s waiting for the dominoes to fall. However, Noesen has finally resurfaced in the most likely of places. The Athletic’s Sean Shapiro reports that the Texas native skated with the Dallas Stars today.
Now, Shapiro stops short of claiming this is an indication of even a PTO, nevertheless a contract. However, he does note that Noesen was the only non-Star in attendance and was wearing Dallas gear. That in itself is not conclusive, but surely lends itself to the idea that Noesen may be officially linked to the team in some way. Yet, Dallas’ roster construction may suggest the opposite. The Stars were active in free agency this summer, adding Joe Pavelski and Corey Perry to a forward corps that was already relatively deep. It has left the team with less than $1MM in cap space with only 22 players on the projected roster. On a minimum contract, Noesen could fit as the final member of the roster, but it would leave the Stars with less roster flexibility than would a waiver-exempt prospect. The team could use a young, established bottom-six player, but likely not at the cost of cap and roster confusion.
Noesen, 26, would have to first prove he is worthy of a contract anyway. It is unlikely that the Stars, or any NHL team for that matter, are willing to give the two-way forward a guaranteed deal after such a down season. Noesen entered 2017-18 with high expectations after a career-high 27 points the year prior, but took a major step backwards. Noesen recorded just eight points in 41 games and watched the other 41 from the press box. The Devils themselves regressed as well, but Noesen’s struggles were mostly a product of his own poor play. The 2011 first-round pick still has the tools and experience to be an effective player, but he first needs to show that he is ready for NHL action. The Stars have already shown a willingness to add PTO’s, formally inviting Scottie Upshall to camp, so Noesen could very well be getting that shot. If not in Dallas, he still seems like a solid candidate to get a look somewhere. However the invitation is just the beginning and the once highly-regarded prospect will need to work hard to show he still belongs at the top level.