3 Stars Players Who Won’t Be Back Next Season

The Dallas Stars have made some nice additions to their already very stacked team since the summer and are set to go on a playoff run. But with all of the loading up, the team will lose some players in the offseason to stay cap compliant and fit in everyone that should be in the lineup. Here's a look at three players who likely won't be back because of this.

Matt Duchene

The Stars took full advantage of Matt Duchene being bought out in the offseason and signed him to a very team-friendly deal at $3 million AAV. In seven fewer games than with the Nashville Predators last season, Duchene already has more goals (23) and more points (58) than he did in 2022-23. He is centering the second line and has been very good for the Stars this season. He is in line for a multi-year, multi-million dollar raise and the Stars won't be able to afford that. The team also has Wyatt Johnston ready to move up a line.

Jani Hakanpaa

The right side of the Stars' defense got a bit crowded after Chris Tanev arrived. While I think that he could be a very solid second pairing defenseman for a few more years and the team could re-sign him, there has to be a top-six spot opened up for Nils Lundkvist. He is a right-shot defender and the only other player that makes sense to go is Jani Hakanpaa. He warrants a raise and is on the third pairing, the spot where Lundkvist is going to find himself as a regular next season.

Craig Smith

The Stars took a chance on veteran Craig Smith to fill out the bottom of their lineup this season and to give their younger players a little more time to develop in the minors. Well, Logan Stankoven, for one, has arrived. Mavrik Bourque is next, so there will have to be some more spots on the roster not taken up by veterans who don't contribute a whole lot anymore. Smith has been alright this season, but not good enough to warrant another contract with the team.

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