Dallas still working on signing Jamie Benn

January, 13, 2013
1/13/13
12:51
PM ET
The top unsigned player in the NHL is forward Jamie Benn, and he wasn’t at the opening of Dallas Stars camp Sunday.

The restricted free agent was second in team scoring last season with 63 points (26-37) in 71 games and a pillar the Stars were building around.

But the deal has to make sense for both sides, and it doesn’t yet.

"I’m optimistic that we’ll have him back on the team, but it won’t be today," Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk told ESPN.com on Sunday morning. "We’ll focus on the guys we have here because it’s a short camp and we need to get ready. But in the meantime, certainly we’ll keep working away at trying to get Jamie re-signed."

The No. 2 name among unsigned players is blueliner P.K. Subban. Things can obviously change quickly with one phone call, but as of Sunday morning my understanding was that things were not close on that front; both sides were still far apart.

On the flip side, Michael Del Zotto was at Rangers camp Sunday as he agreed to a two-year deal worth an average of $2.55 million per season. That’s an important signing for the Cup-contending Rangers.

Meanwhile, the Carolina Hurricanes were busy Sunday, first dealing veteran backup goalie Brian Boucher to Philadelphia and replacing him by signing Dan Ellis. Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford hinted to ESPN.com in the morning that he wasn’t done, and he was true to his word, in the afternoon picking up tough guy Kevin Westgarth from the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for winger Anthony Stewart, Carolina's 2013 fourth-round draft pick and a sixth-round selection in 2014.

Westgarth, of course, was a key player in the recent labor talks, but the Hurricanes are more interested in his toughness than his negotiating acumen.

More will happen, starting with the Roberto Luongo trade talks. More on that Monday.

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