While the hockey world drools over the thought of Ryan Suter and Zach Parise teaming up in Minnesota, the Texas Stars got a little bit of free agent news themselves late last night. Multiple sources report that the Dallas Stars have signed veteran defenseman Tyler Sloan to a one-year, two-way deal.
Tyler Sloan is a 31-year old defenseman, most recently of the Milwaukee Admirals, where he compiled one goal and nine assists in 62 games of service. Sloan has played in the NHL with the Washington Capitals, putting up four goals and thirteen assists over 99 games. Sloan was on a two-year contract to the Capitals from 2010-2012, but had the last year bought out and became a free agent this time last year. He signed a two-way with Nashville and was assigned to Milwaukee.
Sloan has played 467 regular-season games between the AHL and NHL. He also spent some time with the Las Vegas Wranglers under Coach Glen Gulutzan.
As the roster begins to fill up, it looks like this signing fills the role of veteran defenseman, obsoleting both Maxime Fortunus, who the team was in talks with, and Brad Lukowich, who the team had not engaged with in free agency. This gives Texas a likely opening day roster on the blue line, totally postulating on combinations:
It is possible that another defenseman could sign, setting up a sure fire first-callup guy. However, I think that player is most likely to be an AHL-ECHL player who will sign at the bottom of this depth chart rather than an NHL-AHL guy who will fill in somewhere in the middle and bump Coyle to Idaho.
Finally, the expected departure of Lukowich leaves the Stars capitaincy open and up for grabs. My money is on Francis Wathier. What do you think?