The Dallas Stars have reached an agreement with young restricted free agent Denis Gurianov, signing him to a two-year contract according to Matthew DeFranks of the Dallas Morning News. DeFranks reports that the contract will carry an average annual value of $2.55MM. Gurianov was not eligible for arbitration.
There was a time not too long ago that Gurianov was one of the most disappointing prospects in the Dallas system. He was even made a healthy scratch in the minor leagues at one point, and seemed like he would never live up to the 12th-overall pick the team used on him in 2015. That had all changed by the 2020 playoffs, when the 6’3″ forward became a legitimate star for the team, scoring nine goals and 17 points in 27 bubble matches.
Gurianov had only 29 points during the regular season, but 20 of those were goals, leading the entire Dallas team. His quick-strike capacity and ability to get behind defenders resulted in a player that could change a game at a moment’s notice, and at 23 years old he still has time to polish the rest of his offensive game.
A two-year contract isn’t the long-term extension that some were expecting for Gurianov, but it does keep him in the organization and leaves him a restricted free agent when the deal expires. He’ll be arbitration-eligible at that point and will likely have a lot of leverage should his growth continue, but for now he represents a ton of excess value for the Stars.
The team still has Roope Hintz to sign, but the Stars have more than $4MM in cap space even while paying Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin close to $10MM each. That’s thanks to the strong contributions of young, inexpensive players like Gurianov and superstar defenseman Miro Heiskanen (who will need a new deal next offseason).
That leaves them a little bit of room for another addition if they choose, or they can continue to roll with basically the same group that got all the way to the Stanley Cup Final.