Now that the NHL lockout has ended and a tentative collective bargaining agreement has been settled upon, the most pressing issue of the Dallas Stars offseason can be addressed. Jamie Benn, the face of the franchise and the scoring leader in 2011-12, is still without a contract after a new deal could not be agreed upon before the start of the the lockout.

Word was that Benn and his agent were looking for a longer-term contract while the Stars would have likely wanted a bridge contract similar to what Loui Eriksson and James Neal received a few years back. Stars General Manager Joe Nieuwendyk has been a fan of these sort of contracts in the past for players such as Benn, giving the Stars another round of contract negotiations before Benn would become a free agent.

The issue at hand was the fact that no one knew exactly what the new CBA would look like. While there were guesses that the NHL would be pushing for contract limits, once negotiations began how contracts would look on the other side was completely unknown. While teams went hog-wild signing players under the old CBA -- the Stars signed Kari Lehtonen the day before the lockout began -- there were some who chose to go this route with certain RFAs to make sure the next contract would be the best one possible under the new deal.