Stars Predicted to Sign 65-Point Scorer Center

Matt Duchene #95 of the Dallas Stars

Getty Matt Duchene #95 of the Dallas Stars

The Dallas Stars signed a bought-out player ahead of the 2023-24 season and helped build one of the best redemption stories of the year.

Now that the campaign is over, Eric Beaston of Bleacher Report projects that the Stars will re-sign pending free-agent forward Matt Duchene.

“The deal will have to be mutually beneficial for the team and player but Duchene made the Stars a better team, and he clearly wants to be there,” Beaston wrote. “Expect them to make it work.”

Duchene, for context, is coming off completing his one-year, $3 million deal with Dallas. He recorded 25 goals and 65 points in 80 regular-season games.

The veteran forward joined the Stars after being bought out by the Nashville Predators. The Preds regretted signing him to a hefty $56 million contract and cut Duchene ahead of the 2024 season. His performance this past season, however, made the Predators look bad for waiving him.

Mutual Interest Between Matt Duchene and the Dallas Stars

Reports have indicated that there is mutual interest between Matt Duchene and the Dallas Stars for a contract extension.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported in the June 3 episode of the 32 Thoughts podcast that Dallas hopes to retain Duchene.

Duchene himself expressed his desire to remain in Dallas by signing a contract extension before or after the start of free agency speaking to The Sweep Spot on Sprotsradio 96.7FM/1310 the Ticket on June 10.

“Money is definitely not the No. 1 bucket and never has been for me,” Duchene said. “And especially at this point in my career. I’ve been very blessed to have had some great contracts, and I have some good people working with that stuff.

“But you know, you want to fill each of those buckets and Dallas, absolutely, this year filled that for me. And we will be for sure talking and trying to make something happen. So I’m looking forward to that. I’m hoping we can figure it out quickly. And, you know, I can’t say enough good things about this organization.”

Evolving Hockey’s contract projections suggest a three-year, $7 million average annual value (AAV) deal for Duchene. CapFriendly projects Dallas to have $16.2 million of cap space entering the offseason, enough to fit Duchene’s expected contract.

With Duchene still getting paid by Nashville, however, there is a chance Dallas can sign him to a lower-value deal for the duration of those remaining Predators payments through 2029.

Matt Duchene’s Bridge Season with the Stars

Duchene joined the Stars and instantly got trusted into a prime position, averaging 16:45 minutes of playing time of ice time per game. He contributed significantly alongside Roope Hintz, Wyatt Johnston, and Jason Robertson.

As reported by Beaston, Duchene seems to favor the comfort of Dallas over chasing another top-dollar contract.

“I lost the end of my finger in March last year. I had three surgeries, get blindsided, end up a free agent, sign here. I’m here three days later looking for a house. I’ve got three kids at home. I fly here, I fly there, start camp, new teammates, new system, new coaches, new everything,” Duchene told Lia Assimakopoulos of the Dallas Morning News, via Beaston.

“I’m a human being at the end of the day, and I was kind of running like a robot there for eight or nine months. This team is set up to win and win now, something that was important to me.”

The Stars will have to balance their cap sheets by signing and discarding players. That said, following Joe Pavelski‘s retirement it’s fair to assume they will have enough reasons (and cap room) to give Duchene an extension.

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