Stars Viewed As Big Winners On First Day Of Free Agency After Acquiring Spezza, Hemsky
The Stars had "nearly 4,000 empty seats" per home game last year, but GM Jim Nill yesterday took a "giant step toward filling those seats by adding two former All-Stars" on the opening day of free agency, according to Rick Gosselin of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS. The Stars yesterday traded for Senators C Jason Spezza and signed free agent RW Ales Hemsky. Nill made similar signings last offseason with Cs Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin, which, along with a trip to the playoffs, "lured an average of 15,400 fans back into" American Airlines Center. Nill said, "We’re putting hockey back on the map here. I think there are great days ahead for this organization" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 7/2). THE HOCKEY NEWS' Adam Proteau wrote the Stars were one of the "winners" of the first day of free agency. They signed Hemsky to a "very reasonable" three-year, $12M deal, and added RW Patrick Eaves and G Anders Lindback, but their "best acquisition" was the trade for Spezza. Nill made his team "significantly better up front at very little cost to the roster -- and, just as importantly, he’s given up virtually no contract flexibility to do it." That is "as much as you can ask for on free agent day" (THEHOCKEYNEWS.com, 7/1). USA TODAY's Kevin Allen also listed the Stars as the biggest winner in free agency yesterday. They now have a "one-two center combination" of Seguin and Spezza, which is an "important improvement in the center-rich Western Conference" (USA TODAY, 7/2). In Dallas, Mike Heika wrote Nill "made this team much better for next season, and that is worth the risk" of just signing Spezza to a one-year deal. Nill also "opens the door to making it better for several years going forward if Spezza decides to stay" (DALLASNEWS.com, 7/1).