Dallas Stars head coach Rick Bowness stepped down last week just five days after his club's first-round elimination by the Calgary Flames. Finding a suitable replacement will be among several notable off-season decisions facing general manager Jim Nill.
Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman reported the Stars considered a coaching change before the All-Star break in February and had zeroed in on Rick Tocchet. They weren't able to reach an agreement on a deal at that time but Friedman wondered if they might revisit it. Jeff Marek suggested Marc Savard of the OHL's Windsor Spitfires could also be on their radar.
Marek believes they also want to sign Roope Hintz to a contract extension. Cap Friendly shows the 25-year-old center is signed through 2022-23 with a $3.15-million salary-cap hit. He's slated to become a restricted free agent with arbitration rights next summer, putting him a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility.
Marek suggested signing Hintz might mean moving a player. The Stars have $64.9 million invested in 16 players for 2022-23 but his new contract wouldn't take effect until 2023-24, where they currently have $42.8 million committed to eight players.
Nill must also decide John Klingberg's fate. The 29-year-old defenseman is eligible for UFA on July 13. The Dallas Morning News' Matthew DeFranks reported Nill and Klingberg left the door open for the latter's possible return.
Despite Klingberg's complaints in January over his stalled contract talks, he's open to finding ways to remain with the Stars. However, they must ensure sufficient cap space to sign goaltender Jake Oettinger and winger Jason Robertson, who are due for big raises coming off their entry-level deals. There might not be enough for Klingberg.