The top ranked unrestricted free agent has now come off the list on Wednesday morning, as the Dallas Stars have signed veteran forward Jiri Hudler to a 1-year, $2 million deal.
The addition of the veteran Hudler confirms the theory that the Stars are going to bring as many guns to every fight, as the talented forward should be able to add a little bit more play-making ability to a team that will be about scoring a lot more goals then their opponents, rather than the playing tight to the vest styles of recent memory.
The 32-year old Hudler had a bit of a down year in the 2016 season, splitting time between Calgary and Florida, playing 72 games, scoring 16 goals and 46 points in the year, good enough for 103rd among all forwards.
Looking at the lineup, the Stars are likely going to have Hudler somewhere in their top six, but even their top nine is going to look like an offensive force, something that they would probably prefer to have. I think it will be a bounce back year, to a point, where I can see him get 55 points this year in Dallas. He won't get the 70+ points that he had in Calgary, since it won't be top line minutes, but he'll play a big part in the new Dallas offense.
The salary cap situation remains fairly fluid with the addition of Hudler to their ranks, as their current projected 23-man roster still has $5.2 million to play with for the rest of the Summer. Valeri Nichushkin is still in need of a new restricted free agent contract, just out of his entry-level deal, which will likely be a bridge deal. There should be plenty of cap space for that deal and then they should be shopping for some better defensemen for the season.