In today’s edition of Stars’ News & Rumors, John Klingberg’s next contract becomes clearer, Radek Faksa was fined, and the Dallas power play struggles through opening weekend.
Klingberg Contract Expectations
Discussions have slowed for John Klingberg and his contract. The Stars began the regular season last week, shifting their focus from contract negotiations to hockey. However, there was some movement as Klingberg’s camp shared their expectations over the weekend.
While this price seems like a bargain, some key factors could deter the Stars from such an extension. First, Klingberg will turn 30 next summer, which is a few years older than Seth Jones and far older than teammate Miro Heiskanen. The latter two signed massive eight-year contracts this summer worth $67.6 million (Heiskanen) and $76 million (Jones). Is Klingberg worth the same type of contract as Heiskanen? Can he continue to play at a high level for eight more seasons? Is it smarter to ride Heiskanen, Esa Lindell, and Ryan Suter while Thomas Harley develops? These are just a few of the burning questions that will only get trickier to answer as this season wears on.
The other factor in place is that Dallas is already pressed against the salary cap. After this season, many large contracts will come to an end, and the Stars will have to make many decisions on their future. With contracts for defensemen continuously increasing, this decision is big for the organization. If they can afford a Klingberg extension, it could become one of the most affordable contracts down the road. However, if they commit too much to him and his game fades, they will be stuck in a bad salary cap position for years to come.
Faksa Fined For Slashing
On Sunday, in a battle with the Ottawa Senators, forward Radek Faksa was called for a slashing penalty after he slashed down on the hands of Senators forward Tim Stutzle. Stutzle immediately dropped his stick and left the ice in pain. The infraction not only resulted in a minor penalty but also cost Faksa the league’s maximum fine.
Stutzle’s X-ray results following the game were clear, and he should be okay moving forward. Referees seem to be focusing on these types of penalties to help mitigate injuries this season. Faksa will not face any further disciplinary action.
Stars Power Play Struggling Early
Not much has gone right for the Stars during their 1-2-0 start to the season. Among the biggest struggles has been the power play, a huge success story last season. Over the first three games, Dallas is 1/10 on the power play, with the lone goal coming on opening night against the New York Rangers. In that first game, they looked strong with the man advantage, recording multiple shots and a few high-danger scoring chances. However, in the two games since, it has looked flat.
“There were too many times they got outworked in the corners, not crisp with our passing, and we’re standing still moving the puck around. That’s the easiest thing in the world to kill. We’ve got to get moving, we gotta move the puck a lot quicker. Again, it goes back to pucks are exploding off our stick, and that I won’t accept. They gotta handle those passes. If we get moving that puck a lot quicker and handling those passes, we will do a lot more with it.”– Stars head coach Rick Bowness
It is not a stretch to say that Dallas could have a 3-0-0 record with just a bit more success on the power play. They were 0/6 against the Boston Bruins on Saturday in a game they were right in the thick of before Brad Marchand scored an empty-net goal. Their special teams will need to improve as the Stars continue to find their game with a large number of newcomers and youngsters in the lineup. If they can find success there, and with their excellent goaltending, they should be able to win more games while they adjust.
After opening weekend, the Stars have a 1-2-0 record and two points in the Central Division standings. While there is a lot to work on after the first three games, there were also signs of good things to come. Bowness and his team are confident they will find their game eventually. When they do, they will be dangerous.
Sam Nestler is a credentialed Dallas Stars contributor for the ‘The Hockey Writers’. Growing up in New Jersey, Sam has been playing hockey since he was 7 years old. Developing a love for writing in college, Sam uses his hockey knowledge to create analyses and articles on every aspect of the game. Sam also hosts his own podcast on Spotify, the “Slapshot Sammy’ podcast, breaking down action across the Stars, the NHL, and college hockey. Check out the podcast here, and give his latest article a read!