2012 NHL Free Agents: Ray Whitney Signs with Dallas Stars

Jacob Born@@Jacob_BornContributor IIIJuly 1, 2012

NASHVILLE, TN - MAY 04:  Ray Whitney #13 of the Phoenix Coyotes skates against Kevin Klein #8 of the Nashville Predators in Game Four of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Bridgestone Arena on May 2, 2012 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

This year's free agency has been all about where Zach Parise and Ryan Suter will end up. These two have stolen the show, leaving the other stars in the limelight. 

But the biggest deal of the day, so far, was signed by Ray Whitney.

Ray Whitney left the deserts of Arizona to sign with Pacific Division rival Dallas. The Stars will pay him $9 million over two years. The deal also includes no-move clause and no-trade clauses, though Whitney can submit a 10-team list upon request.

This is a great signing for the Stars, as they were just on the cusp of making the playoffs last season. A top-six forward could be the key to making the playoffs next season, especially if Kari Lehtonen goes down again like last season.

For the Phoenix Coyotes, this could be the first of the team's major stars to leave.

Shane Doan is a very much sought-after player that could stop elsewhere to try to win his first Cup. Both players are getting old, which could be a factor down the stretch.

The money the Stars are paying Whitney is a lot, especially for a player who might have only three or four seasons left in his career. But the Stars have the mindset to win now and expect this signing to be a stepping-stone to more success down the road.