The Dallas Stars have signed right wing Ray Whitney to a two-year $9 million contract, the team announced Sunday.
Whitney, 40, was an unrestricted free-agent after the Phoenix Coyotes were unable to sign him in part because of their unstable future.
Despite his age, Whitney was one of the most sought-after free agents as the signing period began at noon ET Sunday. He was 12th in the NHL with 77 points while helping the Coyotes win the Pacific Division and advance to the Western Conference finals. He has averaged 67 points per season since turning 35.
"Whitney was among the most productive players in the league last season and showed he remains extremely capable and dangerous," Stars general manager Joe Nieuwendyk said. "He's a winner, a competitor and a leader, and we're very excited he'll be a Dallas Star."
TSN.ca reported Whitney might have re-signed with Phoenix, but the Coyotes' uncertain lease situation in Glendale, Ariz., made him look elsewhere.
"It was quite a bit of a factor," said Whitney, who TSN received a modified no-trade clause with a $1 million bonus. "In Phoenix's ability to (make an offer) as well."
Greg Jamison, a former San Jose Sharks part-owner, is latest prospective bidder to try to buy the Coyotes, who have been owned by the NHL since it went into bankruptcy in 2009.
However, his lease agreement could be in jeopardy if Glendale -- which owns Jobing.com Arena, the team's home -- receives the required petition signatures by July 9 to put it to a public vote and delay the sale.
The NHL's pursuit of a new owner also has been blocked often by a public-policy advocacy group, the Goldwater Institute. Glendale twice has staved off the group's attempts to torpedo the lease with Jamison.