Dallas Stars center Vernon Fiddler earned his chance to test the free-agent market with his solid performance last season, especially during the playoffs.
On Wednesday, Fiddler quickly decided he still wanted to be a Dallas Star.
General manager Jim Nill signed Fiddler to a two-year contract, saying the 34-year-old never intended to leave Dallas. The terms of the deal were not released.
“He was a free agent and he needed to see what the market was with that,” Nill said. “He is a Dallas Star in and out, through and through. He made it very clear that he didn’t want to leave, but he owed it to himself to see what the market was.”
Fiddler, an 11-year veteran, scored 23 points last season, including six goals; He had three points, including a goal, in the Stars’ six-game first-round series against Anaheim.
The 11-year veteran’s biggest impact was in the face-off circle. He ranked second on the team with a 52.2 percent face-off percentage during the regular season and led the team in the playoffs with a 60.4 win percentage.
Nill also said Fiddler is a strong leader and key voice in the locker room.
“He’s a character player,” Nill said. “He plays the game the right way. He’s very strong in the dressing room. He’s very instrumental in leading the young players. When things go bad, he’s a guy that steps up and takes charge. You can’t have enough character leaders in your room and he’s one of the main guys in our dressing room.”
The Stars also signed left wing Brendan Ranford to a three-year, entry-level contract after the 22-year-old collected 33 points for the Stars’ American Hockey League affiliate in Round Rock.