Deal for Eric Nystrom solves cap issue, adds depth for Stars

The Dallas Stars solved their cap floor issue Wednesday, acquiring left wing Eric Nystrom from the Minnesota Wild for future considerations.

The 28-year-old not only helps settle the cap issue, but the Stars believe he can help on the ice as well.

“I like his age, I like that he is a bigger body that moves well that is going to add to the depth of our hockey club,” said Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk. “He’s killed penalties in the past. He’s a big body that is not afraid to get into the physical aspects of the game.”

Nystrom’s $1.4 million cap hit will keep the Stars above the $48.3 million lower limit of the NHL’s salary cap system when Adam Pardy comes off injured reserve, which could happen as soon as Thursday. The cap floor became an issue when Sean Avery’s $1.9375 million cap hit came off the Stars’ books after the New York Rangers waived Avery and assigned him to the AHL. The Stars had been taking that cap charge on Avery since 2009, when the Rangers claimed him off re-entry waivers.

The Wild put the 6-1, 193 pound Nystrom on waivers last week and then put him on re-entry waivers this week. Any NHL team, including Dallas, could have taken him for half his 1.4 million cap hit, but the Stars needed him at the full cap hit to get above the floor. That’s why they made the trade with Minnesota.

“One, we wanted to solve the problem. Two, we wanted to help our hockey club,” said Nieuwendyk.

Nystrom signed a three-year, $4.2 million contract with the Wild in 2010. He played all 82 games last season, picking up 12 points (4 goals, 8 assists). But he didn’t fit into the Wild’s plans this season and the Stars are hoping he benefits from the change in scenery.

“I think he needed a fresh start,” said Nieuwendyk. “It didn’t work out for him in Minnesota. We liked the way he was playing when he was with Calgary. That’s more of the player we’ll be looking to get.”

Nystrom, a first round pick (10th overall) by Calgary in 2002 has 51 points (23 goals, 28 assists) in 286 NHL games, appeared to be looking forward to the fresh start as well, posting on his Twitter account Wednesday night: “Can’t wait to get to Dallas, new beginning! What a week!”

Vincour to AHL

To clear a roster spot for Eric Nystrom, the Stars assigned right wing Tomas Vincour to the Texas Stars of the AHL. Vincour started the season on the Stars’ second line but had been moved to fourth line recently and Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk said the young forward will benefit from getting more ice time in the AHL.

“He had a great camp last year and he had a great camp this year. In between, he has to become a consistent player at that level,” said Nieuwendyk. “I think he had a terrific camp with us this year and played well in preseason. Unfortunately there is going to be ups and downs with young players. I think the way we are lining up right now moving (Steve) Ott up with Loui (Eriksson) and Benner (Jamie Benn), unfortunately Vinny is going to slide down in his ice time a little bit. I’d rather him play significant minutes every night in the American Hockey League than play five to eight a night for us.”

Pardy, Grossman practice

Both Adam Pardy (rib) and Nicklas Grossman (groin) practiced Wednesday. Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk said one of the two is expected to return to the lineup Thursday when the Stars take on the St. Louis Blues at American Airlines Center. If it’s Pardy, he’ll come off injured reserve and defenseman Philip Larsen would likely head back to the Texas Stars of the AHL.