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Dallas Stars Free Agent Decisions Loom

The Dallas Stars free agent decisions throughout the offseason will be crucial to the team’s future success. NHL free agency begins on July 1st. Here is a look at the upcoming free agent decisions Dallas will need to make.

Dallas Stars Unrestricted Free Agents Starting With Chris Tanev

Dallas traded for the defenceman Tanev at the trade deadline, and he immediately solidified a second defence pairing position. After his arrival, the team improved defensively across the board, but old struggles resurfaced at times during the Western Conference Final. Tanev has said he wants to stay in Dallas but could demand a steep contract.

Forward Joe Pavelski

Pavelski is presumably headed toward retirement after 18 years in the NHL, five of which with Dallas. His impact is all over the team and its young players, but his presence will be tough to replace. Captain Jamie Benn will become the elder statesman, and the team will need to find another top-six forward. His departure should also open roster spots for Logan Stankoven and Mavrik Bourque to be in the NHL full-time, as long as they continue to progress.

Forward Matt Duchene

Duchene is another member of Dallas’ second line set to hit free agency. The veteran signed a one-year deal with the Stars and tied Wyatt Johnston and Roope Hintz for third in points with 65. He also told reporters he wants to return to the team, leaving the front office with another critical decision to make.

Defenceman Jani Hakanpaa

Hakanpaa missed the final two-plus months with a lower-body injury. He’s been a mainstay on the third blueline paring for three years, but will the Stars opt to keep him? Will they see if they can lure a veteran upgrade? Will they decide to give someone else a chance to prove himself?

Centre Craig Smith

Smith added veteran depth on the bottom lines after signing a one-year deal. His playing time diminished near the end as Dallas turned to some younger players. Because of that, it looks likely he will play elsewhere in 2024.

Goalie Scott Wedgewood

Wedgewood has been an admirable backup goaltender for Dallas. He’s displayed excellent professionalism and work ethic while stepping in for long spurts because of injury. He has certainly improved in his time with the club, but Dallas may want to add a more accomplished veteran to complement Jake Oettinger.

Centre Sam Steel

Steel was another one-year deal player added in the offseason. He settled into a fourth-line role as the season progressed and finished with the second-best overall performance of his career. At 26 years old, he still fits in with the young core and may be worth bringing back if the price fits.

Defenceman Alexander Petrovic

Petrovic spent most of last season in the AHL but became a key contributor as injuries mounted on the blue line in the playoffs, making his return to the NHL after a five-year absence.

Defenceman Derrick Pouliot

Pouliot has played sparingly over recent seasons. He appeared in five games for Dallas and did not play during the playoff run.

Restricted Free Agents

Defenceman Nils Lundkvist

Lundkvist is a restricted free agent (RFA), meaning the Stars will keep his rights unless they decide not to match an offer from another team. The 23-year-old appeared in 59 regular season games this year. Yet, he did not play in the series against Edmonton nor Game 6 against Colorado.

Defenceman Thomas Harley

Harley is also an RFA after playing his first full NHL season. Things went well for Harley during the regular season. He finished second among Dallas defencemen with 47 points, trailing only Miro Heiskanen. However, that production disappeared in the playoffs.

Centre Ty Dellandrea

Dallas’ 2018 first-round pick had a career year during the 2022-23 season but found himself fighting for ice time this year. He’s had his share of productive moments, but the Stars will need to determine whether they believe he can be a permanent fixture in the lineup or if they need to explore other options, especially since he is an RFA,

Goalie Matt Murray

Murray has started four games for the Stars over the past two seasons, He is 2-2 overall and shut out Minnesota in January. As a 26-year-old RFA, Dallas needs to decide where (and if) he fits.

Main photo credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports


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