Jim Nill and the Dallas Stars are slowly getting things done this off season, we enjoyed seeing the Stars play through to the second round of the playoffs last season, and it has to be said that towards the end of the season and through the playoffs the Stars were looking like a solid and almost complete team.
So what are the Stars doing in the off season?
Jim Nill is making sure the core of last years team are back in Dallas next year so we can start the 2019-20 season as we finished the last.
Esa Lindell – 6 year extension
The first big move was the Dallas Stars signing Esa Lindell to a 6-year contract extension worth $34.8 million, this is great news for both the Stars and Esa, a few years ago Esa never really stole any headlines, he played his game made few mistakes and that was that, unfortunately when you are not putting the puck in the net dropping the opposing players to the ice as a defenceman it is easy to be overlooked, but Jim Montgomery noticed Esa’s talents from day one and has helped Esa grow into a huge role within the Stars, and Esa came through and has now been rewarded with a long contract. Good news all around!
Joel Kiviranta – 2 years entry level
The Stars then signed Joel Kiviranta to a 2-year entry level contract, I have seen Kiviranta play for Finland in this years world cup and it will be interesting to see were he will fit with the Stars, the 23-year old had his best season last year and played an important role in getting Finland the gold medal this year.
Roman Polak – 1 year extension
One of my favorite players to watch last season was Roman Polak, his size and physicality is exactly what the Stars needed, a big defenceman who can take care of business before, during and after the whistle! I am happy to see him back and I think a 1-year extension is perfect, Polak is now 33 and finished just outside the top 10 in the league in both blocked shots and hits last season, that is dedication but the Stars need to remain aware he is entering potentially the last years of his playing career even if the way he plays suggests otherwise!
Mattias Janmark – 1 year extension
Janmark has been a huge assent for the Stars in his 3 seasons with us, but I have to admit his second season was by far his best, he contributed on the power play, put in the minutes on the penalty kill and collected a couple of shorty’s for his efforts, he had a career high 34 points and was fun to watch. Last year I felt he had lost his edge, he must have led the stars with breakaway chances last year (I don’t have the stats) but it seemed every time the Stars had a breakaway it was Janmark, but it just felt like he never converted, but this being said, he made big improvements in his +/- last year going from -13 to -4 and had a career high 19 assists, so maybe it was just his finishing that suffered last year? Overall I think it is a good deal for both, Janmark is still young and on a team that struggled to score last year he finished in the top 6 amongst forwards. It will be good to see what Mattias can do next season and it will be a big season for him to prove he has a lot more left in him.
Mats Zuccarello – nothing yet…
Well it would appear that any news about the Dallas Stars at the moment has to mention Zuccarello, he came to the Stars towards the end of last season and immediately made an impact, he was huge in the playoffs and seems to fit with the Stars incredibly well. However, the Stars have some hard decisions to make with the veteran, as good of a fit as he is, is he worth losing a 1st round pick in the 2020 draft? How much and for how long do we sign him for? And from both sides, does Mats want to be in Dallas, is there another team/city he would rather play for potentially the rest of his career and is there anyone else out there that would be a better fit for the Stars? Lots of questions and lots of possibilities, I guess in the next 3 weeks we will find out, if nothing is done by July 1st, maybe Mats will not be in a Stars jersey next year, or maybe the Stars will still manage to take him after he explores his options, who knows!? I personally would love to see him back playing for the Stars next year, but let’s see.