Those that want Tom Gaglardi to simply open up his checkbook and get the Dallas Stars to the ceiling of the salary cap might be a little disappointed. It's not that Gaglardi isn't going to spend. He is. He made that clear earlier this week.
"In the mid to long term, this has to be one of the top payroll teams," Gaglardi said. "We’re in a big enough market to support that. We’re going to win, but I don’t think it makes any sense to go out and roll the dice and get it done with a big name free agent right away."
Jumping to the ceiling doesn't guarantee anything. Some owners don't mind coming in and making a big splash. Gaglardi seems content to stand pat for now. And I think that's smart.
If GM Joe Nieuwendyk needs some reinforcements (and he will), he'll have the money to do that. But there's no reason to start throwing money around at this point. Nieuwendyk has done a nice job of identifying the core of the team and adding to that with short-term free agent contracts that allowed the club to stay at the basement of the cap. To keep some of those talented young players in Dallas for a long time, the club must have room under the cap to sign them in the future. (It's not unlike the Rangers, who know they have to sign some critical players in the next few seasons).
Gaglardi trusts Nieuwendyk and when the GM needs to make some moves and spend some more money, he'll have the ability to do that. That's important. But it doesn't mean he'll go out and throw large money and a big name free agent or someone he can grab at the trade deadline that has a long-term deal, only to find out in a few years that because of that, a member or two of the core can't be re-signed. That's not the plan.
Nieuwendyk has a smart blueprint and Gaglardi intends to follow it. As the salaries for the younger players increase, so will the payroll. And it won't take long to get it up where it should be for this market. Just don't expect that to happen all at once.