Steve Ott's new four-year contract means the 27-year-old is with the Stars for the forseeable future. And it's a continuation of general manager Joe Nieuwendyk's plan to identify and cultivate the core of this team and then go about putting pieces around them. And he's trying to do that at prices that make sense. Ott at around $3 million per season makes sense (at $3.5 million, probably not).
Ott is part of that core. He is that unique player that has the raw toughness that can alter a came with sheer physicality along with the ability to generate offense. That's an important element on any team. Ott will stand up for his teammates, put his body on the line and, quite frankly, really irritate the opponent. And he does that not only verbally and physically, but with an offensive spark too.
"That’s been my goal is to identify which guys we can build a real, good core with," Nieuwendyk said. "When I go through my checklist after games in my own mind about our team and what I like is, 'Are we a hard team to play against?’ A guy like Steve Ott clearly makes us a hard team to play against."
I agree. And it's why the Stars needed to get this signing done.
Keep in mind that Nieuwendyk won't have a ton of extra cash to spend this summer. He's going to be paying for raises to Ott, James Neal, Loui Eriksson and Stephane Robidas for starters. So he'll have to get creative. But he's also got a solid core group of folks tied up that he can build around.