Dallas wins big

Archived from 1998-99 season.

Unrestricted free agents

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A few days into his year's free agency and we already have a big winner. The Dallas Stars won the race for right wing Brett Hull and signed him to a three-year deal worth $17 million.

Hull reportedly turned down more lucrative offers from NY Rangers and Los Angeles because he felt he has the best chance to win the Stanley Cup with the Stars and because the deal included a no-trade clause.

Hull spent 11 seasons with the St. Louis Blues, but didn't want to re-sign without a no-trade clause and the Blues were reluctant to give him that.

"They're a winning organization, with a tremendous upside," Hull said. "It had nothing to do with any amounts of money. They have a tremendous hockey department, with a great coach. I was very, very pleased when they called. A lot of teams showed interest, but Dallas was too good to turn down."

St. Louis never advanced beyond the second round in the playoffs during the 11 seasons Hull played there, but Dallas general manager Bob Gainey doesn't think it was Hull's fault.

"We've been able to watch him a lot," Gainey said. "His extraordinary offensive output led to the perception that he didn't participate in other areas. Competing against him, I've seen him compete in many different areas. He's a very strong player."

Gilmour goes to Chicago
The Chicago Blackhawks signed Doug Gilmour to a multi-year contract. Terms were not disclosed. Chicago had been in the running for Brett Hull, but dropped out when his price got too steep.

Other notable signings during the first three days of free agency included defenseman Steve Duchesne signing with the Los Angeles Kings, defenseman Jyrki Lumme signing with Phoenix Coyotes and defenseman Gary Suter signing with the San Jose Sharks.

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