After quite a flurry that coincided with the opening of NHL free agency in early July, Dallas Stars general manager Joe Nieuwendyk admits that with the club signing Jaromir Jagr to a one-year contract on July 3 for $4.55 million, the Dallas brass can finally take a breather and get some much-needed time off.
"No, I think I'm going to the lake next week and turning my phone off," Nieuwendyk said on a July 5 conference call about the Jagr signing. "I think we're pretty much done now."
Dallas adding Jagr came only a short time after the Stars signed fellow veteran Ray Whitney to a two-year, $9 million deal on July 1, the same day the club also added ex-Vancouver Canucks defenseman Aaron Rome. And on July 2, the Stars acquired veteran center Derek Roy from the Buffalo Sabres for fan favorite Steve Ott and Adam Pardy.
These moves all came after the Stars traded No. 1 center Mike Ribeiro to the Capitals on the opening night of the 2012 NHL Draft for young center Cody Eakin.
But it was the signing of Jagr that capped a busy summer off quite nicely. "Well, I don't think there's any question he still has game left in the tank. He had a terrific season last year with Philadelphia," Nieuwendyk said. "He's still a world-class player and for us to be able to bring a guy like that to our franchise is a big deal."
The veteran NHL center had hoped to remain with the Philadelphia Flyers, but as he kept waiting for his now former team to make him an offer, he started listening to other suitors. One reason he came to Dallas was the opportunity to get to play alongside such up-and-comers as Jamie Benn and Loui Eriksson.
"I think it was intriguing to him. He's a guy that's up for challenges," Nieuwendyk said. "He was really intrigued by the players that we have here."
Nieuwendyk then discussed how much Jagr had told him he enjoyed playing alongside Claude Giroux with the Flyers last season and that he could experience a similar feeling alongside Benn and Eriksson in Dallas.
"I would suspect he views the same type of situation here, where he can really help move along young kids' careers in Benn and Eriksson," he said.