Qualifying offers were due to restricted free agents on Tuesday, and the Stars did not extend one to goaltender Richard Bachman. That doesn’t mean Bachman, who served as Kari Lehtonen’s back up last season, is completely out of the Stars’ goaltending picture.
“I’ve talked to his agent and told him he is still an option,” Stars GM Jim Nill said. “We just couldn’t commit to having that guarantee of a contract. We just told him he is still an option, but we are going to explore other options and he is going to do the same thing.”
Bachman had an up and down 2012-13 season, posting a 6-5-0 record, 3.25 goals against average and .885 save percentage.
The Stars did not extend a qualifying offer to defenseman Jordie Benn, but Nill said the Stars and Benn were negotiating a contract. Benn’s agent, Rich Evans, tweeted Tuesday night that Benn was on the verge of signing a three-year extension with the Stars.
The Stars did not extend qualifying offers to Tom Wandell, goaltender Tyler Beskorowany, forward Mathieu Tousignant and defenseman Jace Coyle. Those four players, along with Bachman, will now become unrestricted free agents.
Stars miss out on Lecavalier
Free agency doesn’t begin until Friday, but NHL teams got a head start on the process with center Vincent Lecavalier, who became a free agent and the center of attention after being bought out by the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Lecavalier met with several suitors, including the Dallas Stars, at the NHL Draft in New Jersey this weekend. The Stars were considered to be one of the front runners to land Lecavalier, but the 33-year-old ended up agreeing to a deal with the Philadelphia Flyers that reportedly is worth $22.5 million over five years.
“There were 20 or 25 teams in the running and we were one of the top teams he looked at, but he decided to go somewhere else,” said Stars GM Jim Nill. “That’s his choice. He’s a free agent and we wish him all the best.”
Nill said he thought the Stars made a good pitch to Lecavalier, and may have been number two on his list. Lecavalier’s preference to play on the East Coast may have been a key factor in his deciding on Philadelphia.
“We’ll move forward and look at other options,” Nill said.
Adding Lecavalier would have been a boost for the Stars, who need some help at the center position. Finding help down the middle will continue to be a focus move forward into free agency. One reason is the Stars would like to move Jamie Benn back to wing.
“We think that’s his natural position, he’s played there his whole life,” Nill said. “We’re fortunate that we have options to put him at center ice, but we’d like to move back to his natural position.”