Forward Shawn Horcoff will not be back with the Dallas Stars for the 2015-16 season. Horcoff will hit the market as an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
With the Stars deep at forward and young players pushing for ice time, Horcoff would have been looking at a reduced role. That’s something the veteran forward isn’t ready for yet, according to Stars GM Nill.
“He’s still got that burning desire to play pretty high minutes and would love to come back to our team if that situation was there. If the opportunity wasn’t there and he was going to be the 11th, 12th or 13th forward, he didn’t want to be in that situation,” Nill said. “With where our forwards are at and our young kids are at he said he knew it might not happen here. He still has that desire, and he should for a couple more years. He really wants to help a team out, and he’s going to explore free agency. It was a mutual decision.”
The 36-year-old Horcoff, acquired from Edmonton in July 2013 for defenseman Philip Larsen and a seventh-round pick in 2016, played 153 games for the Stars over two seasons, registering 49 points (18 goals, 31 assists).
Nill said the Stars have made a contract offer to Patrick Eaves, who is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent on July 1. Eaves had 27 points (14 goals, 13 assists) in 47 games last season.
“We need to hear from their camp. We’d like to have him back,” Nill said. “We made him a contract offer and if he doesn’t accept that he’ll be looking at free agency. We’d like to bring him back, so we’ll see where that goes.”
The Stars have talked to goaltender Jhonas Enroth, another pending unrestricted free agent. It appears both sides will explore the market.
“I’ve talked to Enroth and told him we are going to look at the market,” Nill said. “He wanted to look at the market. We are going to keep in touch.”
The Stars have already signed restricted free agents John Klingberg (seven years), Jyrki Jokipakka (two years), Patrik Nemeth (two years) and Jack Campbell (one year). Nill has made offers to two key remaining restricted free agents in Jamie Oleksiak and Curtis McKenzie.
“We’ve talked to both, made contract offers and it’s just negotiations,” Nill said of Oleksiak and McKenzie. “It’s pretty straight forward. We’ll make qualifying offers and go from there.”
The Stars will parting ways with forward Scott Glennie, the team’s first-round pick (eighth overall) in the 2009 NHL Draft. Glennie has played four seasons of pro hockey and logged one NHL game.
“He wants to look at other opportunities. It hasn’t happened here. He’ll be a free agent,” Nill said.
Defenseman Cameron Gaunce, a mainstay on the Texas Stars blue line the past couple seasons, will test the market as well. Gaunce played nine games with Dallas in 2013-14.
“He’s a Group 6 free agent. When you’re a kid and this is your first chance to be free, you want to see what is out there,” Nill said. “His goal is to make the NHL and he looks at our depth chart and he sees that we have 11 or 12 defensemen that have a chance to play in the NHL. He’s going to look around. We’d like to have him back, but for him it’s a chance to see if there is opportunity somewhere else.”
Nill also said the Stars will not extend a qualifying offer to minor league forward Ludwig Karlsson, making him an unrestricted free agent. The Stars acquired Karlsson from Ottawa as part of the Jason Spezza deal.