Unlikely comeback? Stars hand R.J. Umberger tryout offer


Ken Hitchcock once again becoming head coach of the Dallas Stars might not be the least likely “comeback” associated with the team during this turbulent off-season.

Not if R.J. Umberger can rejuvenate his career.

The Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline reports that the Stars are handing Umberger, 35, a PTO. That’s quite the offer considering the fact that Umberger didn’t play at all in 2016-17.

Instead, Umberger dipped his toes in the coaching pool, as Portzline discusses.

Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News confirmed Portzline’s report:

Hitchcock is likely keen on giving Umberger a chance since he saw his best days as a member of the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Umberger rattled off four consecutive 20+ goal seasons and almost reached that total in his final Columbus campaign, managing 18 in 2013-14. After being traded to the Philadelphia Flyers, Umberger struggled, ultimately getting bought out a bit more than a year ago.

It’s likely that he’ll face a tough climb to land a spot on a crowded Stars roster, although Hitchcock may place extra value on his experience.

If Umberger could defy the odds and make the cut, it would continue a move toward bigger bodies in Dallas. They already beefed up in adding rugged defenseman Marc Methot, hulking center Martin Hanzal, and puck-protecting-phenom Alex Radulov to the mix.