Depth was the buzzword as Stars GM Jim Nill plunged into day one of NHL free agency Saturday. Nill bolstered his center depth with the addition of Martin Hanzal, added more forward depth with Tyler Pitlick and Brian Flynn and then added some depth in the goaltending ranks with Mike McKenna.
Hanzal was the big prize of the day for the Stars, who signed the 6-6, 226-pound center to a three-year, $14.25 million contract. The Stars were already deep at center with Tyler Seguin, Jason Spezza, and Radek Faksa, but got deeper with Hanzal, who plays both sides of special teams, is one of the league's best faceoff guys, can play a shutdown role and score some goals. He tallied 20 last season in 71 games while playing for both Arizona and Minnesota.
"Anytime you can be strong down the middle, it is important for your team," Nill said. "We've been fortunate that area has gotten stronger for us as we've moved along. We've got different types of players, too. We've got some speed, some scoring, some big heavy bodies, some good checkers. We've got a good mix, and I think we can match up against anybody in the league down the middle now. And we've got a lot of depth in that position."