Nieuwendyk creating some budget room

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- For a team that didn't have any money and wasn't supposed to do much in free agency, which started today, the Stars were pretty active.

He signed Adam Burish to an average of $1.15 million and Andrew Raycroft at $700,000 if he's in the NHL, which gets the Stars very close to that magic $45 million number. But is that a hard and fast budget line or is there some wiggle room? We'll find out.

Nieuwendyk still has to re-sign restricted free agents Nicklas Grossman, Matt Niskanen and James Neal. That last one could be the toughest. It's possible that Neal gets an offer sheet. And it's something Nieuwendyk said his team is prepared for if it comes to that. (The Stars would get to match any offer sheet, but it could make it where Neal isn't affordable).

"We’re not afraid of an offer sheet," Nieuwendyk said. "I think that threat has been there. We can’t conduct how we want to put the team together in the fear of an offer sheet being thrown at us. James Neal we fully anticipate will be on our team and that's what we’re looking at."

Nieuwendyk is putting together a physical team and one that he feels is "tough to play against." It includes plenty of toughness and grit. It will be interesting to see how all the parts come together.