General manager Jim Nill inked centre Martin Hanzal to a three-year deal worth $14.25 million and signed free agent winger Tyler Pitlick to a three-year deal worth $3 million. The Hanzal signing continues Dallas’ trend of having plenty of depth down the middle, what with Tyler Seguin, Jason Spezza and Radek Faksa in the lineup.
The Hanzal signing also means Stars coach Ken Hitchcock could shift Spezza to the wing alongside Seguin and Jamie Benn. That would create a potent offensive unit for the club and would allow Hanzal and Faksa to take the lion’s share of defensive zone faceoffs.
Pitlick is a scrappy winger. He was drafted by the Edmonton Oilers in 2010 and is a hard worker with a strong core. The 25-year-old had 11 points in 31 games for the Oilers in 2016-2017, including a career-high eight goals. He also had 70 hits.
The Stars also saw Patrick Sharp, Trevor Daley and goalie Antti Niemi walk via free agency.
This wasn’t exactly surprising, as Nill picked up goalie Ben Bishop as part of a trade in May and signed him to a six-year deal worth $29.5 million. Niemi was waived with intentions on a buyout and hit the market. He signed a one-year deal with the Pittsburgh Penguins and will back up Matt Murray.
Kari Lehtonen will back up Bishop in Dallas and all seems well in the crease.
That’s not to say there weren’t missed opportunities on July 1.
Many thought Nill would make a bigger play for free agency Alexander Radulov. The Montreal Canadiens are also courting the Russian and apparently offered him a four-year deal, but Dallas is still in the mix.
Radulov would be a good fit for the Stars and many fans have been salivating at the prospect of the winger alongside Benn or Seguin. Right now, it appears that money and term are issues in Montreal. That could leave the door open for Nill and Co., especially if they’re willing to pony up the green.
Radulov had 54 points for the Canadiens in 2016-2017, including 18 goals.