That the Dallas Stars signed Steve Ott to a contract extension
yesterday is not surprising at all. The thought that Ott would be able
to just fit into any other locker room in the NHL is a tad amusing, and
really it seems the only place for him in the league at this point is in
That Ott was able to get just about the $12 million he
wanted and truthfully deserved from the Stars is what was surprising.
Stars are in a tough situation, as Tom Hicks is seemingly in the midst
of preparing the team for sale this season and has put a lock down on
the payroll. The Stars have operated all season long well under the
salary cap, and it appears as if they’d be operating under the same
internal cap next season as well. Of course, an ownership change could
turn things around but since that’s not expected to happen until this
summer at the earliest, there’s a good chance that the finances for the
Stars won’t be freed up for a while.
So how did the Stars afford
to extend Ott?
In a testament to Ott’s loyalty to the team and
Nieuwendyk’s ability to work a contract (something we haven’t seen yet,
really), Ott’s salary breaks down like over the course of the contract:
(via Dallas Morning News)
2010-11: $2.1 million
2011-12: $3.3 million
2012-13: $3.2 million
2013-14: $3.2 million
Next season the Stars have $33
million is salary committed to 13 players, with no goaltenders under
contract. While the difference in a little under a $1 million might not
seem like a lot, that could be what allows the Stars to be able to sign
one of their many restricted free agents this summer. They’ll also
likely be losing Marty Turco, Mike Modano and Jere Lehtinen, so next
season could see a completely different Stars roster than we’re used.
the Stars start following the “Nashville
model“? GM Joe is going to have to get inventive with free agent
and contract signings to keep the Stars competitive until a new owner
can free up the budget a bit more.