The Stars and forward Antoine Roussel dodged the salary arbitration meat grinder this morning, agreeing to terms on a new contract.
TSN's Pierre LeBrun has the deal at four years and $8 million. Dallas will pay Roussel $1.6 million in 2014–15, and he will make $2.4 million in ’17–18, the final year of the contract. Roussel's average annual salary is closer to the $2.35 million he was seeking than it is to the $1.15 offered by the Stars. With the deal, Dallas GM Jim Nill has locked up a valuable asset and saved precious cap space. He's also given Roussel, an undrafted free agent from Roubaix, France, the kind of security that probably seemed unimaginable to him when he was toiling in the minor leagues.
The 24-year-old is a fan favorite, revered for an aggressive—sometimes borderline—style of play that has established him as one of the game's premier pests. Roussel, who does his best work away from the puck, is a strong penalty killer and a reliable checker, but he hinted at some offensive upside last season with a 14 goals. He's instrumental in driving play (only Tyler Seguin topped his 52.1% Corsi rating on the Stars last year) and he excels at drawing penalties.
If you still don't quite have a grasp on what Roussel brings to the table, check out this video, which captures the highlights of his running feud with the Blackhawks:
With this deal finished, Nill has just two regulars left who are in need of new contracts: Brenden Dillon and Cody Eakin.