Tag: Aaron Rome

Jim Nill

Could Dallas be a big player this week?


For all the rumors and speculation being bandied about, things have been awfully quiet out of Dallas over the last week or so.

And perhaps that’s intentional.

Last year, his first on the job, Stars GM Jim Nill let his actions to the talking — he acquired the rights to Sergei Gonchar and inked him to a $10 million deal, orchestrated the Tyler Seguin blockbuster and acquired Oilers captain Shawn Horcoff within weeks of being on the job.

The result? Dallas made the playoffs for the first time in five seasons and Nill received four first-place votes as NHL GM of the Year.

Nill should be watched with great interest as he readies for an encore performance. Calgary GM Brad Treliving has already tabbed this as “volatile of a draft week as we’ve seen in recent memory,” and it’s clear all 30 NHL clubs hold the potential to do something big.

Earlier this week, PHT spoke with Jarret Bousquet of Titan Management, the agent for Dallas defenseman Brenden Dillon and forward Cody Eakin. While he did confirm he’s spoken with Nill about new deals for both clients — Dillon and Eakin are pending RFAs — it sounds as though extensions aren’t imminent as the Stars are intently focused on the draft and UFAs right now.

Makes sense, given how Dallas is positioned at the moment.

Nill’s spent this offseason mostly clearing the decks — he used one of the club’s two compliance buyouts on defenseman Aaron Rome and informed veterans Ray Whitney and Tim Thomas they wouldn’t be brought back. The Stars also made an offer to versatile center Vern Fiddler, which was rejected as he plans to test free agency.

As such, Dallas now has 15 players under contract for next season at around $48 million — meaning it has roughly $22 million in available space. Nill has played coy about what sort of budget he’s working with (“We’re not a cap team or a floor team,” he told the Dallas Morning News) and it’s clear from last summer he’s got the green light to be aggressive and make big moves.

At this point, it’s probably worth mentioning the guy who signs Nill’s cheques — Dallas owner Tom Gaglardi. This past year was Gaglardi’s first full 82-game season as owner since purchasing the club in November of 2011 and while snapping the club’s playoff drought pleased him, Gaglardi sees it more as the first step in turning things around. He hasn’t been shy about doing whatever it takes to accelerate that process — from the new uniforms to aggressive ticket marketing plans to reconnecting with the club’s history (remember the epic Mike Modano jersey retirement ceremony?) — and he re-iterated as much following the team’s opening-round loss to Anaheim.

“It was a special moment, because I know how important it is to make the playoffs, and the fans know that too,” Gaglardi explained. “That’s the first step, and you want to take it as soon as possible, because everything gets accelerated after that.”

So yeah. Maybe keep an eye on Dallas this week.

PHT Morning Skate: Oilers in market for puck-moving defenseman

Justin Schultz

PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Edmonton Oilers GM Craig MacTavish would like to trade for a puck-moving defenseman. (Edmonton Sun)

Shawn Thornton’s value to Boston went far beyond the numbers. (CSN New England)

New Jersey Devils defenseman Bryce Salvador (hip) and forward Ryane Clowe (concussion) are both healthy at this point. (The Bergen Record)

The Dallas Stars have officially bought out the final season of Aaron Rome’s contract. (NHL.com)

Would it make sense for the Washington Capitals to try to pry Dion Phaneuf from the Toronto Maple Leafs? (CSN Washington)

Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick said the team has entered each playoff run with the expectations of winning the Stanley Cup for years, so all success has done in that regard is aligned the expectations of others with that of the Kings’ locker room. (LA Kings Insider)

Decision day in Dallas: Rome to be bought out, Fiddler going UFA

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A pair of veterans are on their way out of Dallas.

On Monday, the Stars waived defenseman Aaron Rome for the purpose of enacting a compliance buyout — their first, and the first of this year’s window — and had their contract offer to forward Vern Fiddler rejected.

According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, the Stars believe Fiddler is headed to free agency.

As for Rome, the buyout marks the end of a disappointing tenure in Dallas. Signed by ex-GM Joe Nieuwendyk in 2012, Rome got a relatively hefty three-year, $4.5 million deal despite the fact he’d never appeared in more than 56 games in a season.

Known mostly for his devastating hit on Nathan Horton during the ’11 Stanley Cup Final — and subsequent four-game suspension — Rome spent the majority of his time in Dallas dealing with foot, hip and other lower-body injuries, appearing in just 52 of a possible 130 regular-season games over the last two years.

With the buyout, the Stars will be freed of Rome’s $1.5 million cap hit and pay him $533,333 in salary over each of the next two seasons.

As for Fiddler, it’s not surprising he wants to test free agency. Reports surfaced during the year he was unhappy with his role in Dallas and, at one point, requested a trade. What’s more, this year’s free agent class is pretty thin — on Sunday, Edmonton GM Craig MacTavish said “it’s a good year to be a UFA,” — and Fiddler, a versatile center who won 52 percent of his draws last year, could garner interest from teams looking for depth down the middle.

Vigneault doesn’t think Moore should be suspended

Moore on Weise

Yes, it was late, and John Moore deserved a penalty for it.

No, it’s not worth a suspension.

That’s how Rangers coach Alain Vigneault sees the hit that Moore leveled Montreal’s Dale Weise with last night in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Final.

“The guy (Weise) was admiring his pass a little bit,” Vigneault said today.

“I don’t see what else it could warrant (in addition to Moore being ejected from the game). But I’ve been surprised before.”

Indeed he has. Like in the 2011 Stanley Cup Final, when he was coaching Vancouver and his player, Aaron Rome, was suspended four games for hitting Boston’s Nathan Horton late. He was definitely surprised (and furious) by that ruling, and things quickly went south for his Canucks.

What the NHL decides to do with Moore remains to be seen. The player has a hearing today for an illegal check to the head.

“The league will do what it has to do,” Vigneault said last night. “I think [Moore] was penalized on the ice. John is definitely not the type of player to try to hurt someone, but it was a late hit and it was the right call on the ice.”

And according to Vigneault, that’s where it should end. With the call on the ice.


Five telling stats from the first round

Nino Niederreiter, Semyon Varlamov

1. Colorado’s score-close Fenwick — 38.7 percent

By far the lowest of all 16 teams in the first round. In the regular season, the Buffalo Sabres finished 30th, and they were at 41.0%.

Look, a lot of Avalanche fans thought we were picking on their team when we asked if Colorado was in trouble after Game 3. Honestly, we weren’t. All we try to do here is call it like we see it. The Avs are an exciting young team with a bright future, but defensively they still have serious issues. Just look at the late tying goal the Wild scored last night:

That is not sound, structured hockey right there.

Again though, bright future. Just have some things to learn.

2. Anze Kopitar — 10 points

Tied for the most in the playoffs, with Paul Stastny, Nathan MacKinnon and Zach Parise. There’s a good chance Kopitar is going to win his first ever Selke Trophy this season, and deservedly so. He’s an elite two-way forward, right up there with Jonathan Toews and Patrice Bergeron.

This is a goal Kopitar scored in Game 6. Note how he started and finished the play:

3. Boston’s power play — 37.5 percent (six goals on 16 opportunities)

Hey, remember when the Bruins’ power play went 0-for-21 versus the Habs in 2011? And remember the disgruntlement in TD Garden during Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final versus Vancouver when the B’s failed to score on Aaron Rome’s five-minute major for hitting Nathan Horton late? Boston won it all that year with a power play that converted on just 11.4 percent of its chances. Related: Torey Krug and Dougie Hamilton weren’t on that Bruins team.

4. Penguins’ record when they led after two periods — 1-2

Yep, both Pittsburgh losses to Columbus came after the Penguins carried a lead into the third. In all, teams went 28-7 in that situation during the first round, which isn’t all that great. Compare that to, say, the 2000 playoffs when teams went a combined 53-4, or 2004 when they went 67-6. When the Penguins won the Cup in 2009, they went a perfect 11-0.

 5. Frederik Andersen’s save percentage — .892

The only goalie with a sub-.900 save percentage to advance to the second round. In large part because Kari Lehtonen’s was even worse, .885, for Dallas. (Not a lot of great goaltending in that Ducks-Stars series.) Should be interesting to see if Bruce Boudreau goes back to Jonas Hiller against the Kings.