By Douglas Smith @DFresh39 on April 18, 2014
In the middle of the 2013-14 NHL season, the Dallas Stars looked to be down and out. They made an incredible run to sneak into the Western Conference playoffs. This run was largely accomplished with younger players like Alex Goligoski, Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin. They do have a good core of veterans, but that should become a smaller list of players next season.
Aaron Rome was inserted into the lineup in the first playoff game because of an injury to 23-year-old Brenden DIllon. He was placed on the third defensive pairing. Rome has playoff experience but played less than 30 games in the regular season and recorded only one assist. Rome has one more year left on his contract, but at a salary cap hit of only .5 million, he should have a friendly buyout.
Dustin Jeffrey was claimed off waivers from the Pittsburgh Penguins last fall and has been up and down between the NHL and AHL. He played in 25 games for the Stars but averaged less than 10 minutes of ice time. He did not have a highly productive season in the AHL for Texas either. Jeffrey is a restricted free agent at the end of this season, but the Stars will be willing to part with the fringe player.
Sergei Gonchar started the playoffs on the third defensive pairing along with Rome. Gonchar only scored two goals during the season and was seventh in the Stars' defense in average ice time. He has one more year on his two-year, million contract, but he has to be considered a buyout candidate at 39 years of age. It is clear he has lost a step and isn't as good on the power play, which was his specialty in Pittsburgh.
Tim Thomas was surprised that he was traded to Dallas this season but has enjoyed his time there. He acknowledges that he has probably played his last game for Dallas with Kari Lehtonen sure to get all the playing time in the playoffs. Thomas just turned 40 and is an unrestricted free agent. It has been said that the Stars had trouble learning how to play defense in front of Thomas as well.
Vernon Fiddler requested a trade earlier in the season when the Stars were not in playoff contention. While he has stated that he is glad he stayed in Dallas, that request is a good reason to get rid of Fiddler. Added to this equation is that FIddler is an unrestricted free agent and turning 34 in a month. Fiddler had the next to last amount of ice time of all the Dallas Stars' centers on the year.
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