Grading the Dallas Stars' 2015 NHL Free Agency

By Nick Villano
Dallas Stars End of Season
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The Dallas Stars went into the 2014-15 season as one of the favorites in the race for the Stanley Cup. They were a sexy pick among analysts who wanted to veer away from picking the Los Angeles Kings. Their season was a disaster from the start, beginning with a 14-game run that only brought four wins.

They ended up missing the playoffs, despite having two of the biggest scoring threats in the NHL in Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin. This offseason was one of the most important in the history of the Stars. If they weren’t able to capitalize on Seguin and Benn going into their prime, they might not want to stick around in Dallas for long.

The first priority was to bolster their team in net. Kari Lehtonen is not reliable to carry the load like he once did, so the Stars made a move for the rights to Antti Niemi, signing him to a three-year deal worth $13.5 million. They are paying a lot for netminders, but it is a position that may have cost them a magical season.

Their defense still needs work, but they are being tied to Johnny Oduya, one of the most consistent defenseman on the market. What they end up doing with the blue line will change the complexion of their offseason.

The draft’s first round brought in Denis Gurianov, a right wing out of Togliatti 2. It was received with little fanfare, as many believed the Stars reached for him. Most fans hoped they would bring in a young, upstart defenseman.

The big move they made was trading for Patrick Sharp and Stephen Johns of the Chicago Blackhawks. They picked up one of the biggest pieces on the trade market in Sharp and added someone in Johns who could end up being a top two defenseman if everything goes perfectly. They gave up Trevor Daley, who like Sharp showed huge declines last season. Both players needed a new jersey, so this trade was great for both teams.

The Stars have been relatively quiet on the free agent market. They did re-sign Patrick Eaves, who was a major priority to the team, to an extremely affordable one-year, $1.15 million deal. He will play for another year proving his worth, while the Stars get a bridge deal to see if they can move some money around if he deserves a raise.

Again, the entire offseason depends on how they finish with their blue line. If they are able to acquire an Oduya, or even Cody Franson or Christian Ehrhoff, this could be an A level offseason. As of now, they still don’t quite make it there.

GRADE: B

Nick Villano is the NHL feature writer for Rant Sports. He also adds to the site’s NBA, MLB and NFL content. You can follow him on Twitter or add him to your Google circle.

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