From the start of free agency, Texas Stars general manager Scott White was going to let the market play out.
He was happy with the team he had in early July. And even a week ago, he wasn’t looking to add any free agents.
But, with a couple AHL veterans still on the market, White decided to pull the trigger and signed goalie John Muse and defenseman Brennan Evans earlier this week to standard AHL contracts.
“We recently evaluated things and looked at the market,” White said. “Some things weren’t of interest in early July. Come the end of July, and after we had a busy month with the NHL club, we decided to take a chance.”
Evans’ signing, White said, was almost solely a product of the defensive free agent market. The 33-year-old was still looking for a job in late July, as were a couple other AHL veterans, and after discussing a couple options White worked out a deal with the former Grand Rapids Griffin.
“He’s played on some good teams,” White said. “He’s big and he’s tough, while his character is great. He’s been through this league, and that’ll be a nice thing for our group.”
Muse is the place-holder the Dallas Stars needed in Texas for Phillippe Desrosiers’ development, and perhaps the key to pushing Jack Campbell to his full first-round potential.
It’s been stated, multiple times, by Dallas general manager Jim Nill that he wants both goaltenders to carry a heavy workload this season, even mentioning 60 games as the target number.
And a couple roadblocks had to be cleared for that to happen.
First, Dallas needed Jussi Rynnas’ premature departure to the KHL. The Finnish goaltender — while entertaining after victories — wasn’t going to be part of Dallas’ future. And, from a developmental standpoint, he was frankly going to get in the way this season.
Once Rynnas left, Texas was potentially looking at a Desrosiers-Campbell tandem in net.
But, how do you squeeze in the desired 60 games for each prospect?
And that’s where Muse fit perfectly.
Campbell needed a savvy partner that was comfortable playing 20 to 25 games, but could still play at high level and push the former first-round pick in his limited playing time.
“It’s good for Jack to have a partner who’s been through it a bit,” White said. “(Muse) understands his role and we want Jack to take the starting role. But he’s got to earn it. The table has been set for him, but he’s got be the one to pull up his chair.”
Desrosiers needed time and tampered expectations entering his first professional season, and sitting on the bench in the AHL wasn’t an attractive option for Dallas. Now he’s the opening-night starter for the Idaho Steelheads, but still has the opportunity to earn AHL games by the end of the season.
“He’s going to go to Idaho, but who knows?” White said. “If he’s prepared and ready to take on his next task, we’ll get him up there. But we’ll approach that when and if the time comes.”