Free agency has done nothing to improve my confidence in the Dallas Stars.
It’s been two weeks since teams began signing new players, and while the Stars landed former Florida Panther Mason Marchment, there is still plenty of uncertainty in Big D ahead of the 2022-2023 NHL season.
The most talked-about question concerning the Stars involves defenseman John Klingberg, who is the top available defenseman still unsigned.
With 47 points (six goals and 41 assists) last season, the 29-year-old was the fifth-leading scorer for the Stars and scored 11 more points than any other Dallas defenseman. If he does in fact sign elsewhere this summer, his departure will leave a lot of slack to be picked up.
The Stars have some major question marks ahead of next season.
Another important player that Dallas has yet to take care of is goaltender Jake Oettinger. In his second NHL season, Oettinger went 30-15-1 with a 2.53 goals against average (GAA) and a .914 save percentage. Both numbers were the best on the team.
Of course, it was the playoffs where the 23-year-old really shined. The Stars lost to the Calgary Flames in Game 7 of the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and Oettinger was their best player. In a losing effort, he posted a 1.81 GAA and a .954 save percentage.
If Dallas is unable to work something out with him, it will leave the team with Scott Wedgewood and an injured Anton Khudobin as the goaltenders on the roster.
Finally, forward Jason Robertson needs to be re-signed as well. Like Oettinger, he is 23 years old, and last season, he recorded 41 goals and 38 assists for 79 points in 74 games played. His point total was second among Stars skaters, and he led the club in goals.
Through 128 career games, Robertson has 125 points (58 goals and 67 assists). He also tallied four points in seven playoff games in his postseason debut against the Flames.
Klingberg will be a lot to replace, but Oettinger and Robertson are two key pieces of the Stars’ future. There is still plenty of time to get them locked up, but knowing that they are still without contracts should make Dallas fans feel uneasy.
Both Oettinger and Robertson are restricted free agents, but the fact remains that until they are officially under contract, the Stars have some massive gaps in their lineup.