Cap issue has Stars looking to acquire player

Even NHL teams on a tight budget can have salary cap issues. Witness the Dallas Stars. When defenseman Alan Pardy comes off injured reserve, which could happen as soon as Thursday, the Stars could drop below the lower limit of the league’s salary cap.

That means the Stars are going to have to find a way to add some cap cost to their roster via a signing or a trade into compliance. In other words, the Stars are in the market to add a player.

“We’re looking at many different options,” said Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk. “We’re planning accordingly for when Pardy comes off IR. We have to make some kind of acquisition assuming that we are all healthy, which can change day to day. “

So how did the Stars get to this point? When it comes to the NHL salary cap, nothing is simple. When the Stars decided to part ways with Sean Avery in 2009, they took a $1.9375 million cap charge when the New York Rangers claimed Avery off re-entry waivers. At the time, it appeared that charge would stay on the books through the 2011-12 season.

The charge didn’t play much a fact over the past two seasons but it became significant this season because it helped keep the Stars over the lower limit of the cap, which is $48.3 million.

Re-enter the New York Rangers, who had their own roster decisions to make this season. And the Rangers decided that their roster would be better if Avery was elsewhere. So they put him on waivers and after he cleared they assigned him to the AHL. After some initial confusion about how this affected the Stars’ cap situation, the final conclusion was that as long as Avery wasn’t on an NHL roster his cap hit wasn’t on the Stars’ books.

The Stars were OK as long as Pardy was on IR and the Stars were carrying an extra player on the roster. But when Pardy is activated the Stars will need to take that extra player off the roster, leaving them a little more than $300,000 below the floor with a full 23-man roster.

They could acquire a player – either through a signing or trade - and move one of the players currently on the roster off it to make up for the shortfall. Perhaps there is another way. Whatever route the Stars take, Nieuwendyk said the team we’ll do its best to deal with the situation.

“It’s not the end of the world. We’d like to make a positive out it,” said Nieuwendyk. “That’s why we are looking at every different option. Number one, we are looking at becoming compliant when we are healthy and number two, doing something that is a positive for our group.”

Cap/money notes

*Although Sean Avery’s cap hit is off the books, the Stars still pay him $2 million in salary this season.

*Forward Scott Glennie is still on injured reserve, but since he was injured in training camp and has not played an NHL game, his $1.62 million cap hit offers no relief to the Stars under the rules spelled out in the NHL’s CBA.

Stars note

*The Stars had Tuesday off. They will practice Wednesday morning in Frisco. The Stars host the St. Louis Blues Thursday at American Airlines Center.