The Dallas Stars have been busy today. The team has announced a one-year contract for Mattias Janmark, who was scheduled to become a restricted free agent this summer for the final time. Janmark will earn $2.3MM on the new deal, the same amount he was paid last season for the Stars. GM Jim Nill released a statement on the signing:
Mattias is a relentless forward who combines his tremendous skating ability with sound positioning, making him a disruptive force. He is a versatile player that can play up and down the lineup at even strength, and was one of the key members of our penalty killing group, which was a top-five unit all season.
Janmark, 26, was originally a third-round pick of the Detroit Red Wings in 2013, but ended up as part of a package exchanged for Erik Cole in 2015. He quickly became a full-time member of the Stars after that, recording 15 goals and 29 points in his rookie season. Unfortunately, a major knee surgery forced Janmark to miss all of the 2016-17 season after he was diagnosed with osteochrondritis dissecans, a genetic disorder that can affect the cartilage in his joints. He returned with a vengeance in the fall of 2017 and had an excellent season, scoring 19 goals and 34 points, but took a step back offensively this year.
Still, even with his down year in terms of goal scoring, Janmark had value to the Stars. The speedy winger averaged more penalty killing time than any forward other than Blake Comeau and Radek Faksa, and actually provided the fourth-most even-strength assists among the forward group. His massive drop in shooting percentage was a huge culprit in his goals falling off, as he shot just 5.7%, down from his previous career number of 14%. If he can bump that back up next season there is no reason he won’t be able to provide tremendous value on a $2.3MM cap hit, especially given his defensive ability.
It is interesting that the Stars re-signed Janmark so easily, given that they were “dangling” him in trade talks just a few months ago. This one-year deal could very well lead to that happening again, given that he will be an unrestricted free agent next summer. If the Stars fall out of the race, he will be an interesting trade candidate at the deadline for a team that wants to add some more depth up front, especially given his (albeit short) history at the center position and effectiveness on the penalty kill.
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