Dallas Stars defenseman Trevor Daley (6) is hit into the boards by Detroit Red Wings defenseman Ruslan Salei (24), of Belarus, during the first period of an NHL hockey game Wednesday Dec. 29, 2010, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Mike Fuentes)
DALLAS - The Dallas Stars signed defenceman Trevor Daley to a six-year contract extension Wednesday worth US$19.8 million.
Daley's new contract is worth $3.5 million in each of the first four years before dropping to $3.1 million in 2015-16 and $2.7 million on 2016-17.
The Stars are controlled by lenders to bankrupt team owner Tom Hicks, and the team is for sale.
GM Joe Nieuwendyk got the go-ahead from the lenders, and the NHL, to offer a long-term deal to Daley, who could have become an unrestricted free agent after the season.
"The lenders, for sure, and with the league's blessing, they like what we're doing, they like what they see here with us, and gave us the green light to go ahead and negotiate," Nieuwendyk said. "We ask, can we do this? And we get blessings, so we do this. I think this is a good deal for us."
As part of the new contract, the 27-year-old Daley received a no-trade clause for the first two seasons, with limited trade options in the final four years.
Entering Wednesday night's game against Detroit, Daley had two goals and nine assists, placing him second among Stars defencemen with 11 points.
"His game is suited for where the league is going, with puck-moving, mobile defencemen," Nieuwendyk said. "He's probably our best one at doing a lot of those things. So it's an important piece for us."
The team has five more potential unrestricted free agents, including top-line centre Brad Richards.
Nieuwendyk said re-signing Richards is his next priority, although he knows working out a long-term deal with the team's best player won't be easy.
"I've said all along that I want to sign Brad Richards and we're going to do what we can to make that happen," Nieuwendyk said. "I'm sure it will be a difficult (negotiation). Brad Richards is in position to be the No. 1 free agent in July. That's not a secret. But he enjoys playing here and we want him to be part of our core."