There was some question regarding whether or not Vernon Fiddler would return to the Dallas Stars – especially after GM Jim Nill acquired another prominent center Jason Spezza and adding more salary with Ales Hemsky – but he decided to ink a two-year deal with the team on Wednesday after all.
ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun reports that the deal is worth $2.5 million, with $1 million coming in 2014-15 and $1.5 million in 2015-16. That’s a slight but considerable drop-off from his previous deal ($1.8 million per season for three years).
Fiddler, 34, drew (and in some circles, draws) some heat for reportedly asking out of Dallas last season, but it’s clear that the two sides patched things up.
With this re-signing, the Stars now have two sets of defensive-leaning centers and two sets of offensive-minded centers. Tyler Seguin and Jason Spezza can get the plum assignments and most of the power play minutes while Shawn Horcoff and Fiddler can take most of the defensive zone faceoffs and do a lot of the heavy lifting.
Fiddler already played that role regularly with Dallas, so that shouldn’t be too much to ask of the veteran winger.
Many now ask if the Stars will improve their defense after bumping their offense up. In a way, they sort of did that by retaining Fiddler.
In other Stars news, the team signed Brendan Ranford to an entry-level deal: