The Stars have signed defenseman Esa Lindell to a six-year, $34.8 million extension, the team announced Thursday.
Lindell, who would have been a restricted free agent this summer, is now Dallas’ highest-paid defenseman.
“Esa is a consummate professional who has proven himself dependable in every situation and is just an absolute workhorse,” general manager Jim Nill said in a release. “When you combine his strength, conditioning, hockey IQ and skill, he has become an integral part of this team. Along with John Klingberg and Miro Heiskanen, the three make up the foundation of a blueline that will not only be a strength for our club, but one that will be as good as any in the NHL for the foreseeable future.”
Lindell, who turns 25 next week, set career highs in goals (11), assists (21) and points (32) this season. A native of Finland, Lindell impressed the Dallas front office during the playoffs, where he scored four total points and led the team with a 26:58 average time on ice in 13 games.
“We’ve known how good he is over the years, but I think now, he’s starting to get recognized around the league,” Nill said, via the Dallas Morning News. “These playoffs showed who he is. We’re excited. I think there’s still room for more growth. I think he’s going to become more of a leader on our team. He’s just a big part of our team moving forward.”
Lindell originally was picked by Dallas in the third round of the 2012 NHL Draft. His 11 goals, plus Heiskanen’s 12 and Klingberg’s 10, marks the first time in franchise history that three defensemen have had more than 10 goals in a season.
Along with Lindell, the Stars have been working to keep winger Mats Zuccarello on the team after acquiring him in the middle of the season from the Rangers in exchange for a 2019 conditional second-round pick and a 2020 conditional third-round pick.
Related slideshow: Best of the 2019 NHL playoffs (Provided by imagn)