6 contract decisions facing the Stars this offseason, including postseason playmakers and multiple defensemen

The Dallas Morning News’ Matthew DeFranks takes a look at the contract decisions facing the Stars after the 2018-19 season.

Mats Zuccarello, 31 years old

The small Norwegian winger was the team’s key trade deadline acquisition and primary target to re-sign. If the Stars do sign Zuccarello, the 2020 third-round pick they traded to the Rangers becomes a 2020 first-round pick, but the team would retain one of its best playmakers in the postseason.

Jason Spezza, 35

Spezza’s $7.5 million cap hit comes off the books following two down seasons when he combined for 16 goals and 37 assists in 154 games. Spezza said he plans on playing in the NHL next season instead of retiring but will have to take a significant pay cut to do so, whether in Dallas or elsewhere.

Ben Lovejoy, 35

Lovejoy was another trade deadline acquisition by Dallas and he occupied the third pairing during the playoff push and into the postseason. He was a key penalty killer, but the Stars showed this season that they can fill the bottom pairing with internal options like Dillon Heatherington, Joel Hanley, Gavin Bayreuther or Dillon Heatherington, even though all of them are left-handed.

Roman Polak, 33

The Stars signed Polak last summer to be the sixth or seventh defenseman on the roster, to be a frequent extra and a veteran presence in the dressing room. Instead, Polak stepped into a top-four role alongside Miro Heiskanen and played 77 games for Dallas. Polak should be replaceable in the top-four either through free agency or trades.

Taylor Fedun, 31

Fedun was a surprise for the Stars this season, coming over from Buffalo in a trade designed to bolster AHL affiliate Texas. But Fedun grabbed hold of a roster spot and played a career-high 54 games for the Stars. For the first time in his career, Fedun enters free agency as a proven NHL player.

Marc Methot, 33

Methot’s Stars career included just 45 games due to knee injuries and his $4.9 million cap hit will be removed from Dallas’ salary cap. At this point in his career, following a season-ending knee surgery, Methot would be a risky add on the free agent market.

Dallas Stars season wrap-up

The good, bad and ugly: Heiskanen impresses; Lites rips Benn, Seguin

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6 contract decisions facing the Stars this offseason, including postseason playmakers and multiple defensemen