It’s been quite an offseason for the Dallas Stars.
— Ken Hitchcock was hired as the club’s head coach.
— The Stars had a big move up the selection order to third overall in the Entry Draft courtesy the lottery.
— Vegas traded defenseman Marc Methot to Dallas, which should help improve that blue line.
The biggest move Stars general manager Jim Nill could’ve made was to improve the goaltending situation — something that was desperately needed — and the acquisition and re-signing of Ben Bishop should provide just such an upgrade in net.
Yes, the Stars still have $10.8 million committed to two goalies for one more season, with the 30-year-old Bishop signed to $4.916 million per year for six years and Kari Lehtonen with one more year left at $5.9 million, before he’s an unrestricted free agent.
But in Bishop, the Stars have a goalie with a career save percentage of .919, helped along by three particularly strong seasons in Tampa Bay, from 2013-14 to 2015-16. He was a Vezina finalist in two of those three seasons. With a window to win right now, despite a setback and missing the playoffs this past season, getting a capable No. 1 goalie was an absolute necessity for Dallas.
“He committed his six years to this. He wanted to be on a winning team,” said Nill. “I think that kind of showed the rest of the league that this is a place to come here and play and that it was going to be a winning environment.
“It’s been a busy offseason. It’s been a good offseason. But I think the big message is … first of all, this game’s pretty humbling. We like what we’ve done but we’ve still got a lot of work to do. We’ve got to get to a point with this franchise where we’re in the playoffs every year.”
The Stars aren’t done with offseason moves yet, either. They still have to get 23-year-old center Radek Faksa under contract. He’s currently a restricted free agent, after a 33-point season.