Rounding Up Day 1 of Free Agency as Several Big Texas Names Move On

Ryan Shea (Credit: Ross Bonander/Texas Stars)

(UPDATE: Late-breaking add of Riley Tufte heading to Colorado.)

As free agency began today at 11 AM CT, it was clear that the 2023-24 Texas Stars would be different from last season, as is always the case. The degree to which that was true was unclear. We have more clarity now, however, as some big names, in a Texas Stars sense, have moved on already on Day 1. Many big signings are surely still to come as the AHL-relevant deals tend to happen later in the week and month. Let's take a look at a few that will affect Texas, directly or indirectly.

Dallas Signs Joel Hanley for 2 Years, Trades Colin Miller

Dallas appears to be closing auditions for further talent on the blue line with an extension for Hanley and a departure for Miller. With seven under contract now at the NHL level, it's going to be tight sledding for anyone to break in barring injury. The players who were most likely to get that call anyways are mostly moving on, as you'll see below.

Dallas Signs Sam Steel, Craig Smith and Matt Duchene for One Year Each

In my estimation, these signings make it less likely that Dallas looks for anyone to step up into permanent roles in the NHL from Texas out of camp this season. At the same time, you can look at these signing, especially the signing of Duchene, as increasing the likelihood that Texas fans will see Logan Stankoven in Cedar Park to start the season. If he is all that is promised, he could easily do a 20-30 game stint in the AHL and move up by Christmas. If not, you haven't bet an entire roster spot on his development.

Shea and Gardner Depart for Pennsylvania; Studenic, Gleason and Tufte Head West

Franchise-record holder for plus-minus, Ryan Shea, and arguably the AHL's best faceoff man, Rhett Gardner, both left the organization today on deals to head east in their first year as unrestricted free agents. Shea joins the Penguins while Gardner heads to the Flyers. Marian Studenic signs a deal with Seattle, and Ben Gleason goes to Edmonton on a two-year. Riley Tufte, in a late signing this evening, was among a crew of five two-ways announced by the Avalanche. All of these are two-way contracts.

Elsewhere among former Texas Stars, here are some notable signings

  • Justin Dowling inked a two-year, two-way in New Jersey.
  • John Klingberg signs in Toronto on a one-year deal.
  • Jacob Peterson re-signed with San Jose on a one-year.
  • Mattias Janmark re-signed for one year in Edmonton.