Another gut-wrenching season in the books and the Stars are once again just out of the playoffs. It's clear that the talent level in Dallas just isn't quite up to par with the other playoff teams in the West, as evidenced by what happened to this team in the late stages of the season. The roster situation for next year provides an opportunity for a lot of turnover and with the resources that Tom Gaglardi will be able to provide, the offseason will definitely be an interesting one. Here's the roster breakdown for the offseason and who I believe should be gone come opening day.
Signed and Set To Go For Next Year
- Kari Lehtonen
- Loui Eriksson
- Michael Ryder
- Steve Ott
- Vernon Fiddler
- Brenden Morrow
- Mike Ribeiro
- Eric Nystrom
- Tomas Vincour
- Trevor Daley
- Adam Pardy
- Alex Goligoski
- Stephane Robidas
There's also a couple of younger guys that played in the very last game of the season that are signed on for next season: Scott Glennie and Brenden Dillon. If those two make the roster for next year, these 15 guys would take up roughly $43 million in cap space. That leaves somewhere between $20-$25 million of cap space for next season, depending on whether or not the cap moves up (There is still a tricky CBA issue to get around for the NHL). That number will take a big dent because I'm sure that Jamie Benn will get a big deal and there are still a good amount of free agents on Dallas that can provide some good production for the Stars.
Now the question is will all of these folks be on the roster at the start of next season? In my opinion, all but four of these players should be here for sure. The Stars should take a hard look at sending Morrow, Ribeiro, Pardy and Robidas packing. Morrow and Ribeiro are making a ton of money ($4.1 million and $5 million respectively), money that can be spent towards free agents that actually provide a difference to this team.
Morrow dealt with an injury plagued season and is on a clear downside (it might be a sheer cliff) of his career. He's not in a position to be more than a third or fourth liner and it's a travesty that he played most of his time this year on the top lines. There are guys that can take his spot next season (Reilly Smith, Vincour or even Ryan Garbutt if he keeps progressing) and the captain patch should go to Ott or Benn. As much as it might hurt to see the captain sent off, it's the right thing to do. His time is up in Dallas.
Ribeiro is tricky because he is a valuable piece to the team. He was tied for second on the team in points with 63 (though that probably should have been much more considering he was top line) and the Stars have no real replacement waiting in the wings. He is making a substantial amount of money for next season though with the $5 million cap hit and Ribeiro has an odd ability to disappear at the most inopportune times. He's pretty much absent in huge games, a big problem considering his position on the team and who he plays with. Dallas needs to shop him around this offseason and see if there are any takers out there for a guy that can produce, just not when you need him to.
Adam Pardy was just plain bad and has a big cap hit ($2 million) considering what he gives on the ice as a third pair defenseman (though he really should be eighth in the pecking order). It might be better to just release him, especially with someone like Brenden Dillon waiting to make his mark on the team. Robidas has just reached the point in his career where everything has passed him by. He can't keep up with forwards anymore and is really starting to get outmuscled for the puck and in front of the net. He's taking up space on the power play unit and the Stars have excellent talent waiting in the AHL that should be up here by 2013-2014 if not by late next season. I've always liked Robidas for his toughness but that can only get you so far and he's no longer up to his first d-pairing duties.
If nothing else, these four guys need to go so Dallas can re-sign their own valuable (and young) free agents and still make a splash in the offseason with signing other guys. Moving these four frees up $14.4 million in cap room.