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

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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.