Nill says Hamhuis could be on the top defensive pairing in Dallas

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For just $7.5 million over the next two years, the Dallas Stars may have found themselves a top-pairing defenseman in free agency.

Stars GM Jim Nill was interviewed on TSN 1040 radio yesterday and was asked where he saw Dan Hamhuis playing next season. Nill replied that it was “wide open” heading into training camp, but didn’t rule out a major role for the 33-year-old veteran.

“There’s a chance he could play with John Klingberg,” Nill said, per Today’s Slapshot. “John’s got great offensive skills. I think Dan Hamhuis might be a great fit for him, to be the guy back there moving the puck out, giving the puck to him.”

Klingberg spent most of last season paired with Alex Goligoski, who’s in Arizona now. The Stars also lost Jason Demers to free agency and didn’t re-sign Kris Russell, leading Nill to target Hamhuis on July 1.

If Hamhuis, a left shot, isn’t paired with right-shooting Klingberg, there are “lots of other options” for a partner, according to Nill.

“We’ve got Stephen Johns,” Nill said. “We’ve got this Esa Lindell. Patrik Nemeth. We’ve got Jordie Benn. So we’ve got lots of young defensemen that could always use the mentorship of a veteran like Dan Hamhuis.”

It will certainly be interesting to see how Hamhuis fares with his new team, and not just from a Stars perspective. Despite not being far removed from winning Olympic gold for Canada in Sochi, the Canucks did not make him a priority to re-sign, opting instead to acquire Erik Gudbranson from Florida and bolster their forward group with Loui Eriksson.

Related: Dallas loves its young defensemen, which could mean goodbye for some vets