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Posted By Travis Currie On Jul 3 2011 @ 2:06 pm In Dallas Stars | 2 Comments

I would have to say that July 1st was a fairly successful day for Joe Nieuwendyk and co. They managed to stay below the budget while addressing some big needs as well.

On the list heading into the big day was a top six forward. That came in the signing of Michael Ryder from the Boston Bruins. The Stars signed Ryder for the next two years at $3.5 million per. Ryder, 31, has managed to score at least 25 goals in four of his seven NHL campaigns so far and that includes two 30 goal seasons.  He’s a right handed shot and will likely be given time with set up man and former teammate Mike Ribeiro, as well as ample power play opportunity. We could see him return to his 25-30 goal range.

Also on that list was a defenseman to shoot the puck. Not many guys in the league who can shoot it harder than big Sheldon Souray. It’s more of a let’s see how it goes contract at one year, paying Souray $1.6 million. He’s been out of the league for a year now after what went on in Edmonton so there could be a little rust. He’s big, strong, and mean, and Dallas could definitely use all of that on the back end as well.  Soon to be 35, he’s twice scored over 20 goals in this league including a 26 goal campaign with the Canadiens back in 2006-07. He’s been questioned for his defensive zone coverage and his ability to stay healthy for an entire season has been an issue the past few, but at just $1.6 for one year, it’s worth the shot.

Adam Pardy was another addition to the blue line on free agent day. At 6″2 205 pounds, he’s a much needed physical presence and adds toughness to a lineup that has lacked it quite a bit recently. 27 year old Pardy played in just 30 games with the Flames last year due to a separated shoulder but is healthy now and ready to go. He played for Glen Gulutzan in Las Vegas of the ECHL a few years ago and that was a factor in the signing. The deal is at $4 million over two years.

Depth at forward was also added with the Stars signing veterans Radek Dvorak and Vern Fiddler, as well as gritty forward Jake Dowell. Dvorak and Fiddler will find homes in the bottom half of the lineup as well as on the penalty kill, which is an area the Stars desperately need help in as the team ranked 23rd overall last season.

Overall, the Stars managed to add to the lineup and fill some glaring holes, and they did it without locking themselves into anything that may be a blemish on the payroll some time in the future. Joe Nieuwendyk wants to win sooner rather than later, though he’s realistic in his expectations. With that said, this team should be improved after July 1st and after missing the playoffs by just one win last year, we should expect them to at least be right in the mix again next season.

Especially with all things considered, the off-season should be considered a success so far.



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