We are just a mere week away from the start of NHL free agency, so what better time than now to get you all caught up on the status of the Dallas Stars’ free agents to-be. Let’s get you caught up on everything that has happened so far this offseason and who may not be back with the Stars come training camp.
Who Won’t Be Back?
Recently, reports have surfaced out of Dallas that the Stars will not be re-signing Shawn Horcoff or Scott Glennie. The Glennie decision comes at no surprise, as the former first round pick has appeared in just one NHL game and doesn’t exactly dominate the AHL. Unless an NHL team without much depth is willing to give him a shot, he may be on his way to Europe to play for a team over there. The Stars also announced they will not be making a qualifying offer to Ludwig Karlsson who will be looking for work elsewhere.
As for Horcoff, it doesn’t sound like Stars General Manager Jim Nill was opposed to bringing him back for a fourth line role. According to the Stars website, Horcoff was looking for something more. “He’s still got that burning desire to play pretty high minutes and would love to come back to our team if that situation was there. If the opportunity wasn’t there and he was going to be the 11th, 12th or 13th forward, he didn’t want to be in that situation,” Nill said. “With where our forwards are at and our young kids are at he said he knew it might not happen here. He still has that desire, and he should for a couple more years. He really wants to help a team out, and he’s going to explore free agency. It was a mutual decision.” I loved having Horcoff in Dallas. He was a great mentor for Jamie Benn beginning his captaincy, among many other young players he helped out. Maybe he pulls a Vern Fiddler and comes back, but if not I hope he lands on a contender. Horcoff certainly deserves it.
Jhonas Enroth is another name you can most likely put on the “won’t be back” list. The Stars want to look at what else is going on in the big goalie market this offseason while Enroth is likely wanting an opportunity to start full-time. There are better options out there for both parties, so it doesn’t really make much sense to pursue Enroth any further.
Who Will Be Back?
The Stars have already gotten to work signing some of their restricted free agents. Patrik Nemeth and Jyrki Jokipakka are both returning with the same deal at $900K per year for two years. We all know about the massive John Klingberg signing earlier in the offseason, as he was signed for seven years at $4.25M per. The Stars also brought back Jack Campbell for one more season in a “prove-it” contract that sees him making $650K in the NHL or $90K in the AHL. The Stars have also made qualifying offers to both Jamie Oleksiak and Curtis McKenzie, so it sounds as though they will do everything in their power to bring those two players back for next season.
There are a few players whose futures with the Stars are a little more cloudy. Patrick Eaves has an offer on the table from the Stars and they definitely want him back. He provided a much-needed spark on the power play unit and fits just about anywhere in the lineup.
Someone else like that is Rich Peverley, who will also be a free agent come July 1st. He is looking at a comeback to the NHL, but it is still going to be a tough road back. I’m sure the Stars would love to give him an opportunity, but as of now there isn’t much to report on the situation. We will likely know more about Peverley later in the summer.
One last player the Stars are waiting on is AHL defenseman Cameron Gaunce. He has made appearances with the NHL club and the Stars would like to bring him back. Gaunce is considering looking at teams with less defensive depth in order to get a better shot at the NHL. He is another player that the Stars will just have to sit tight and wait on.
While Nill and the Stars still have some work to do with their own free agents, they will be monitoring other free agents as well. The Stars would love to add a quality goaltender and defenseman to their roster, whether that comes via trade or free agency remains to be seen. The busy time of year for NHL General Managers has begun.
Jordan has been covering the Stars for The Hockey Writers since February 2015. He is originally from Iowa City, Iowa. You can follow Jordan on twitter @jordan_dix