The Dallas Stars were one goal away from advancing to the Western Conference Final last season. Now they feel they're ready to take the next step after signing free agent forwards Joe Pavelski and Corey Perry, and defenseman Andrej Sekera, on Monday.
"We're fortunate to be in a good position and our team is trending," Dallas general manager Jim Nill said. "I think everyone in the League saw what we did in the [Stanley Cup] Playoffs and where we're heading and some of the young players and the growth in their game. Because of a combination of all of these things, here we sit today, and some major players became available. We were able to get into the mix with them, and it worked out well for us."
[RELATED: Pavelski signs with Stars | NHL Free Agent tracker]
Pavelski signed a three-year contract worth $21 million; Perry signed a one-year contract worth $1.5 million that includes $1.75 million in performance-based incentives; and Sekera signed a one-year contract for $1.5 million plus $500,000 in performance-based incentives.
Pavelski, who turns 35 on July 11, has 761 points (355 goals, 406 assists) in 963 NHL games, all with the San Jose Sharks.
Perry has 776 points (372 goals, 404 assists) in 988 NHL games, all with the Anaheim Ducks, who bought out the final two seasons of the 34-year-old's eight-year contract June 19.
Sekera has 236 points (45 goals, 191 assists) in 707 games with the Buffalo Sabres, Carolina Hurricanes, Los Angeles Kings and Edmonton Oilers. The 33-year-old had the final two seasons of his six-year contract bought out by Edmonton on Sunday.
Pavelski and Perry each had interest from other teams but said the allure of the Stars was too good to pass up. Dallas was eliminated by the eventual Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues in the Western Conference Second Round, losing Game 7 2-1 in double overtime.
"I'm looking to win another Stanley Cup, that's my biggest goal and that's why I chose Dallas," said Perry, who won the Cup with the Ducks in 2007. "They have everything that I want in a hockey team. They're on the verge of putting something really great together, and I want to be a part of that."
Video: Stars add veteran depth with acquisition of Perry
Pavelski said, "When I talked about certain boxes I wanted to check off for us, we wanted a good goalie, we wanted some good defense and some high-end forwards. And those boxes checked off very easily for us [with Dallas]."
Dallas already had a good blend of talent, and goalies Ben Bishop (27-15-2, 1.98 goals-against average, .934 save percentage) and Anton Khudobin (16-17-5, 2.57 GAA, .923 save percentage) were outstanding last season. Forward Tyler Seguin led the Stars with 80 points (33 goals, 47 assists), and forward Alexander Radulov was next with 72 points (29 goals, 43 assists). Jamie Benn was third with 53 points (27 goals, 26 assists), but the Stars wanted more scoring depth, and Pavelski and Perry will give them that.
"When you can add major scorers, that's a big addition," Nill said. "It's no secret that you're always trying to add scoring. It's hard to do. Teams are well-coached, goaltending is outstanding, everybody plays good defensive hockey, and it's hard to score goals."
Video: Pavelski discusses new beginning with Stars
The Stars are also strong at defenseman with John Klingberg, Esa Lindell and Miro Heiskanen, who had 33 points (12 goals, 21 assists) as a rookie last season. Sekera said it was a no-brainer to come to Dallas.
"A lot of young, talented guys on the back end, in net and on the forward group," Sekera said. "This team was dangerous last year and can only get better this year, as well. I'm just very fortunate to be part of this group."
The Stars liked the progress they made last season. After adding some proven veterans, they're ready to build off it.
"What I like is the mix of the youth and the experience we have now," Nill said. "We're adding some great leaders and guys that know how to win to the core. You mix that in with some of the young kids and I think it can be a pretty dynamic team that way.
"Our team is trending up, and that's a good sign."
NHL.com correspondent Josh Clark contributed to this report
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