TSN’s Pierre LeBrun is reporting the Dallas Stars are signing veteran forward Matt Duchene. NorthStar Bets’ Chris Johnston reports it’s worth $3MM. The Stars also announced a one-year, $850K contract for center Sam Steel.
Duchene was a late entrant to the UFA market after being bought out by Nashville earlier today with three years remaining on his contract. It didn’t take long for him to find a new home, however, as he joins a Dallas team that already has some strong center depth which should help take some offensive pressure off of him.
Last season, the 32-year-old took a step back offensively after putting up a career-high 43 goals and 43 assists in 2021-22. However, he still managed to tally 22 goals and 34 assists in 71 games for the Preds last year, good for second on the team in scoring which made it all the more surprising that Nashville elected to buy him out.
In a potentially more limited role (since it’s unlikely he’ll be averaging more than 18 minutes a game next season), those numbers are likely to come down, Duchene should still be able to provide solid value on this deal while giving them another above-average option at the faceoff dot, adding to a team strength.
As for Steel, he had a career year last season with Minnesota, collecting 10 goals and 18 assists in 65 games, providing the Wild with a strong return on a one-year, $825K investment. However, as the 25-year-old had arbitration eligibility, Minnesota elected to non-tender Steel, making him an unrestricted free agent for the second straight year. Technically, Dallas can control him through restricted free agency through the 2024-25 campaign but he would remain arbitration-eligible next summer.
Steel averaged nearly 15 minutes per night with the Wild last season and it’s unlikely that he’ll see that much ice time on a deep Dallas forward group. Instead, he might fit in on their fourth line with an ability to move up when injuries arise.