The Dallas Stars are bringing back one of their veteran forwards, re-signing Blake Comeau to a one-year contract. The deal will carry a salary of $1MM for 2021-22 and does not include any performance bonuses.
Comeau would have been eligible for those bonuses because he is signing a one-year deal and is now 35, but instead, he’ll accept a contract just $250K more than the league minimum. The veteran checker doesn’t bring much offense to the table these days, scoring just four goals and 14 points in 51 games for the Stars this season, but is still a valuable member of the penalty kill and adds a good dose of physicality to the bottom-six.
In fact, in the Cinderella-like run for Dallas in the 2019-20 bubble playoffs, Comeau racked up 93 hits, good for ninth in the entire league. His 903-game NHL career has been filled with that kind of bang-and-crash style, which is becoming even more popular with this year’s gritty final four. More and more teams are re-evaluating their dependence on skilled perimeter players, with veteran leadership and physicality getting increased attention.
That’s exactly what Comeau brings, but it certainly can’t be the last move the Stars make if they want to get back to the promised land. The team is set to lose quite a bit of defensive depth with Jamie Oleksiak and Sami Vatanen scheduled for unrestricted free agency, while their top scorer, Joe Pavelski, will turn 37 in a few weeks. A return to full health for Tyler Seguin could perhaps be the most important factor in the Stars success next season.
Importantly, Comeau’s re-signing also gives the Stars another forward that meets the exposure requirements for the upcoming expansion draft. Previously, they had just eight forwards that met the threshold of games played and were signed for next season, meaning at least two of them would have been left unprotected. Now, the team has a little more flexibility as Comeau poses little threat of being selected by the Seattle Kraken–and even if he did, wouldn’t be too hard to replace for the Stars.