Initially when the offseason began, there was much debate about whether the Dallas Stars had seen the end of Tom Wandell‘s tenure as a Star. As the offseason began the Stars began to send tender qualifying offers to all of their restricted free agents, and with the acquisitions of Cody Eakin and Derek Roy in the offseason and contracts awarded to Ryan Garbutt and Jaromir Jagr, plus with training camp close and Stars General Manager Joe Nieuwendyk giving praise to prospects Scott Glennie and Matt Fraser, it didn’t seem like their would be a spot for Tom Wandell and it was a head scratcher when Tom Wandell was offered a tender qualifying offer on the very last day the Stars could do so back on June 25th. Tom Wandell would eventually accept the qualifying offer on July 6th and will make $892,500 this season. Early line projections had Wandell as a 13th forward, but on July 11th it was announced that newly acquired 2nd line center Derek Roy was gonna need shoulder surgery and could be out until mid to late November so that leaves a big hole in the top six. So a competition is up for the second line center spot and competitors for the spot include: Cody Eakin, Scott Glennie, Radek Faksa, and of course Tom Wandell.
So far on paper, I give the advantage to Tom Wandell, he has previously played on the top six on Dallas and has the ability to center the second line.
Wandell has been here since the 2008-2009 season and twice he has hit his career high in points which is 15. He is a part of the veteran group of forwards that hasn’t been a real positive in helping the team trying to make the playoffs the past four seasons, so he could really be looking at his last chance to make a name for himself in the NHL this season. If not Joe Nieuwendyk has been making statements this offseason moving players who he didn’t believe will help the team in his plan and there are players in the minors just waiting to get a spot on the roster even if it’s just fourth line minutes.
This season we should look for Tom Wandell to work for the breakout season that many Stars fans were expecting to happen. Wandell has many great qualities including his skating and level of grit he plays with, to play in the top six we will need to improve his playmaking and shoot the puck on net more often, in 72 games played last season Wandell registered just 103 shots on net which is an average of a little bit over 1 a game. Wandell will need to make a statement in the first month of the season so Stars fan should look for that this season.