The Dallas Stars are at it again. Less than two hours into the NHL free agent season, Dallas had made headlines with the acquisitions of Jason Spezza and Ales Hemsky. They further solidified their roster with lesser publicized signings of Anders Lindback and Patrick Eaves.
On Wednesday afternoon, they retained more veteran depth by re-signing Vernon Fiddler to a two-year term. The financial aspects of the contract were not disclosed.
There was some speculation that Fiddler would no longer be a member of the Stars as he had rejected a proposed extension offered by Dallas prior to the start of free agency. Rumors circulated that the veteran would be interested in going to a team with a better chance of competing for the Stanley Cup than Dallas. After yesterday’s trade and free agent signings, it appears that Fiddler thinks the Stars can offer at least a similar opportunity to ascend the hockey summit.
In about the time it takes to watch a movie, general manager Jim Nill turned the Stars from a team with only one (albeit dominant) line, to a team that can feature two offensively packed lines, and now has two very solid checking lines for coach Lindy Ruff to ice. Clearly, Fiddler must have been impressed with the activity of Nill and likes the Stars’ chances this season.
The move retains yet another veteran presence in a dressing room that already features one of the best leaders in the game in captain Jamie Benn, along with former captains Shawn Horcoff and Spezza. Fiddler provides a true professionalism to his approach to the game off the ice. On ice, Fiddler is a very capable checking line center who excels in the faceoff circle and on the penalty kill.
Dallas now has five centers on the roster (Tyler Seguin, Spezza, Cody Eakin, Horcoff) with Fiddler now officially on the Dallas roster. With the way Nill has been wheeling and dealing, it remains to be seen if one of the five will be moved to a wing or will be traded. Either way the Stars have retained a key member from their turnaround last season and possibly a valuable trade asset in the future.