Short of signing a superstar, the most fun a team can have in free agency is bringing in a player who could become just about anything. Suffice to say the Stars are having an absolute blast today.
Say hello to Mason Marchment, who became the team’s first marquee addition this summer after Dallas and the 27-year-old agreed to terms on a four-year deal at $4.5 million annually. If the surname sounds familiar, it’s because he’s the son of former Stars nemesis Bryan Marchment, who tragically passed away last week.
Otherwise, you’d be forgiven for not knowing much of anything about the younger Marchment, who came into the league undrafted and had all of 11 career regular-season NHL points to his name heading into the ’21-22 campaign. He then proceeded to nearly quintuple that number last season in Florida despite playing only a little over 14 minutes per night in 54 games, and he did that while playing strong two-way hockey. And by “strong,” I mean the sort of stuff that has various uber-smart hockey folks tweeting things like “one of the most bonkers seasons in recent memory” and “Mason Marchment broke my model with a ridiculously off-the-charts season.” Pretty good!
But there are caveats. Being on pace for 70 points in fourth-line minutes is very different from turning in 70 points of actual production, and Marchment is now compensated to deliver much closer to the latter than the former. That’s before considering the impact of leaving hockey’s most prolific offense for somewhere far, far removed from that, even if new coach Pete DeBoer can be expected to improve on Rick Bowness’ work to at least some degree.
So, yeah, I have no idea what’s about to happen, and neither does anyone else. Perhaps Marchment is a late-blooming star whom the Stars nabbed for a bargain. He could be a one-year wonder who bombs in the face of greater expectations in a more challenging environment. Or maybe—most likely—he’s something in between, a good player who does enough things at a high level to be a strong addition even when his scoring efficiency drops off with more ice time.
The Stars just paid for the privilege of finding out firsthand. Whatever comes next, give them this: there are way less interesting ways to spend $18 million.