Bill Meltzer: Star Gazing: Bolts Blow Out Stars, Roster Moves, Dillon and More

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STARS STUMBLE IN PRESEASON FINALE

The Dallas Stars finished their preseason slate with a 4-2-0 mark after falling 5-1 to the visiting Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday night at the American Airlines Center. Both exhibition season losses the Stars suffered came at the hands of the Lightning.

Dallas trailed for virtually the entire game, falling behind 1-0 after just 37 seconds of the first period and never catching up thereafter.

Tampa built a 3-0 lead before Stars captain Jamie Benn scored the lone goal for Dallas. Anders Lindbäck went the distance on goal for Dallas, turning back 28 of 33 shots.

Richard Panik opened the scoring in the first period by cashing in a rebound to quickly put Tampa Bay ahead. The 1-0 score held until 7:39 of the middle frame when Lindbäck turned over the puck trying to outlet it on a Stars power play. The puck was intercepted by J.T. Brown, who stashed the disc into a wide open net for a shorthanded goal with Lindbäck trapped way out of position.

Less than a minute after a Nikita Kucherov power play goal extended the Tampa lead to 3-0, Benn tallied at the 14:50 mark of the second period to reduce Dallas’ deficit to two goals. On the play, Benn potted the rebound of a shot by Valeri Nichushkin.

Tampa pulled away in the third period. Cedric Paquette scored a rebound goal at 2:30 of the final stanza to make it a 4-1 game. At 7:04, Brett Connolly closed out to scoring by converting a scoring chance off the line rush.

This was the Stars’ lineup for the preseason finale:

Jamie Benn – Tyler Seguin – Valeri Nichushkin

Erik Cole – Jason Spezza – Ales Hemsky

Shawn Horcoff – Vernon Fiddler – Colton Sceviour

Patrick Eaves – Travis Morin – Brett Ritchie

Alex Goligoski – Trevor Daley

Patrik Nemeth – Jamie Oleksiak

Jyrki Jokipakka – Sergei Gonchar

Anders Lindbäck

[Jussi Rynnäs]

*************** QUICK HITS

* The Dallas Stars roster now stands at 25 players. Earlier today, the Stars assigned defenseman Jyrki Jokipakka and forward Brett Richie to the AHL’s Texas Stars. Yesterday, the team made six cuts from its NHL preseason roster: defensemen Julius Honka and John Klingberg, centers Radek Faksa and Justin Dowling, and wingers Curtis McKenzie and Brendan Ranford.

* The Stars will take a full off-day today with no on-ice or dryland training. Tomorrow, practice resumes in Frisco. On Friday, the team will be in Cedar Park for a practice. On Saturday afternoon, there will be an intrasquad scrimmage.

* Stars beat writer Mike Heika reported yesterday that Jarrett Bousquet, the agent for unsigned restricted free agent defenseman Brenden Dillon has said the team turned down a two-year bridge deal offer from the Dillon camp at a $1.9 million cap hit. Stars general manager Jim Nill declined comment.

On the surface, it may seem like the Stars are pinching pennies here. Viewed solely in the context of the cap hit, it appears that the proposal made by the Dillon camp is reasonable. After all, Dillon is an important player and emerging young leader on the Dallas blueline. However, there is most likely a big piece of the puzzle that the Bousquet is leaving out in his public revelation of his demands on behalf of his client.

Without knowing the specifics of the offer, here is the probable sticking point in the two-year proposal. The real-dollar salary in the second year of the contract is likely much higher than the first in Bousquet’s proposal. This is crucial because it is salary in the second year of a bridge contract — not the cap hit itself — that sets the price tag for a player’s qualifying offer the next time he comes up for restricted free agency.

Dillon made a $900,000 salary ($743,333 cap hit) in his entry-level contract with the Stars. Let’s hypothetically suppose Bousquet’s proposal was the following: his client would play for the same salary in 2014-15 with the salary jumping to $2.9 million in 2015-16. If the Stars were to agree to that, they would then be locked into the second figure as the basement floor of issuing a qualifying offer in 2016. They’d probably prefer to distribute the $1.9 million cap hit a little more evenly between the two seasons.

Nevertheless, it does not sound as though the two sides are miles apart from coming up with a deal both can live with. It would be surprising if Dillon is not in the opening night lineup after coming to terms before the start of the season.

This post originally appeared on www.hockeybuzz.com and we thank them for permission to rebroadcast it here.

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