Ryan Button a Question Mark Among Dallas RFA Group

Defenseman could be the only to player not ending season on Texas roster to receive qualifying offer
Ryan Button (Credit: Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)
There are a handful of Texas Stars related restricted free agents who did not end the season with the club. The only question mark among the group is Ryan Button, as Austin Smith and Tristan King are extremely unlikely to get offers. All three played more ECHL games than AHL games in their tenure with the Stars and they will both find out their fate with the organization officially when qualifying offers are extended on June 30th.

Ryan Button
Button joined the Dallas Stars organization almost one year ago on July 4th. He was an add-in piece on the blockbuster Seguin trade. Realistically, the deal could be considered to be separate: a straight up trade of Joe Morrow for Ryan Button. Button was drafted by Boston in 2009 with the 86th overall pick.

Button played mostly ECHL minutes this season. He had 33 regular season games in Idaho as a top-line defenseman. He got into 26 games with Texas on the season. Many of those were as a forward, however, when Texas was lean up front in February. He was injured late in the season in Idaho and missed all but one game of the Steelheads' playoff run.

Two teams have placed him on the AHL-ECHL barrier, Boston and Dallas. After three years, has he developed enough to try another season? Does it look like he could become a long-term Dallas Star? The answers to those questions appear to be no, which leads me to believe he will not be qualified.

Austin Smith
Things are a little more clear with Austin Smith. The Texas native came in with a lot of promise after being a scoring machine in college and being a finalist for the Hobey Baker in his senior year.

Over the course of his two year pro career, he has played more ECHL games than AHL. He was never able to find his scoring touch in the AHL but had a lot of success in the ECHL. He had 27 goals and 23 assists in 38 games last season in Idaho.

This year he started in Texas but was sent down to the Steelheads. It wasn't where he wanted to be and he decided to head to Finland. He finished out the year with Ässät and signed an extension to play with them next season as well.

Tristan King
Another restricted free agent who will not be getting a qualifying offer is Tristan King. The skilled forward never could excel at the AHL level and struggled to find a home at the ECHL level as well. He was traded away from the Idaho Steelheads last year after a drug arrest in Las Vegas and ended this season in Evansville. In four years as a pro, he played just 11 games for the Texas Stars.


  1. If the Stars do indeed let him go by not tendering him it will only sting when you think of it Morrow for Button. Morrow I believe has future NHL star written all over him. Given Dallas just drafted 7 potential future Defensemen it's going to a tough road moving forward for any blue liner that does not produce on a consistent basis.


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