|Cameron Gaunce (Credit: Josh Rasmussen/Texas Stars)|
Gaunce will qualify as a veteran under the AHL's veteran rule next season for the first time. Also qualifying for Texas and already under contract are Travis Morin and Maxime Fortunus. The signing of Gaunce puts an interesting question to the Stars' management. Where do you 'spend' your remaining veteran spots? The Stars already have two on defense but only one on offense. Does Texas get Derek Meech under contract to provide even more veteran savvy at the blue line?
More important than signing another on defense is getting someone else on offense. It's not like Travis Morin is all alone in terms of skill, but his likely linemates, McKenzie and Ranford, are only second-year players. Both exceeded expectations in their rookie years and could suffer sophomore slumps. Where the Stars need more depth is veteran wingers. With the losses of Kevin Henderson, Colton Sceviour and Mike Hedden from last year's squad, there is talent but not a lot of experience on the wings. Next year's crop does not feature a single LW or RW with more than 76 games of regular season AHL experience.
So who's out there? The top unsigned AHL winger is Aaron Palshuaj, according to the Citizen's Voice Free Agent Big Board. He also made $175,000 last season on contract to Carolina in Charlotte. Dallas is close to the NHL max on contracts (50), having used their most recent one to lockdown this year's top pick Julius Honka. This includes anticipated contracts for RFAs Dillon, Glennie, Roussel and Eakin. However, Honka's contract only counts if he plays in the professional ranks this year (in Europe or North America). I'm guessing the Texas Stars would ask for Dallas's assistance to meet a 175k price tag.
Is Texas rolling the dice without more veteran forward clout?