Mike Heika recently wrote about the state of the team and because of the tight internal budget, the uncertain ownership and the team missing the playoffs the last 2 years. Don't expect the Stars to make many big splashes during the Free Agency period that started back on July 1.
They will be looking for role players, guys that could be on the border line between the NHL & AHL and guys that they know they will be able to get for very little.
From Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News: www.dallasnews.com
The first day of Free Agency has been like Christmas for Stars fans in the past. They sat in anticipation and waited to unwrap gifts such as Pat Veerbek, Eddie Belfour, Brett Hull, Bill Guerin and Pierre Turgeon. Even if every signing didn't work out, the thrill of the acquisition was there.
But this year, the most excitement local fans will find is discovering where icons such as Mike Modano and Marty Turco will sign. With a $45 million internal budget and barely enough room to keep their own restricted free agents, the Stars will not be a player in NHL Free Agency when it opens up today.
Meanwhile, the franchise leader in points and goals, Modano, will ponder playing for another team for the first time in 22 years, and the franchise leader in goalie wins, Turco, will target the fastest way to a Stanley Cup with a new team.
"It's safe to say we're not going to be a big player in free agency, just as we weren't last year," Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk said. "But even though July 1 is the deadline, if we can do something that makes sense later, we'll do it."
Nieuwendyk's hands are tied. He has committed money to raises for players such as Loui Eriksson, Steve Ott and Stephane Robidas and still has key restricted free agents to sign in James Neal and Nicklas Grossman. The Stars are for sale, and until a new owner takes over, they is no money to spend.
Thus, a team that has missed the playoffs the last 2 years will probably be picked to miss the playoffs again next season. And, for now, there is nothing to do but to wait and see if Nieuwendyks's decision to move to Kari Lehtonen in goal and to trust a ton of young players will work out.
So, Stars fans are left to ponder if they should be a Modano Red Wings Jersey or maybe a snappy Turco number in Sharks teal.
"It is exciting," Modano said Wednesday as he prepared for the opening round of phone calls. "I'm really not sure what's going to happen and what the interest is going to be, so it'll be very interesting to see what offers are going to be out there."
Modano will act as his own agent and talk to GM's Directly. He will then get help from a friend who has a background in sports representation where negotiations get going.
Turco has already fielded one offer. The Philadelphia Flyers sought permission to talk to him early and offered a three year contract at an average of $2 Million a season. Turco turned it down and said he wanted to wait until today.
The Stars do have other issues, though. Jere Lehtinen is unrestricted free agent who's pondering retirement. If he decides to play, the Stars will probably offer him a one year contract. Nieuwendyk said Lehtinen is still very much up in the air and need more time.
In addition, Neal could sign a restricted free agent offer sheet from another team. The Stars are offering him a two year contract at a lower salary and maintain his rights, but if another team comes in with an offer sheet, the Stars must match it or lose Neal and get draft pick compensation. Just one more thing for the Stars Fans to worry about, eh?
It's a different world out there right now, and maybe no day shows it clearer then the first day of free agency. Well, maybe the first day of the playoffs.
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