Justin Dowling is finally going to buy furniture in Texas.
Over the past five seasons Dowling has rented furniture to furnish his apartment in Austin, it was just the more practical solution as he progressed from a AHL tryout contract, to a standard AHL contract, and eventually an NHL contract the past couple of seasons.
And after signing a two-year contract extension with the Dallas Stars this past Friday, Dowling is confident enough to call Texas his home. Like past seasons he already had other offers in Europe and could have tested the market as an unrestricted free agent on July 1, but the opportunity to stick with the Stars and have a bit of security for the future was important to the 26-year-old center.
“It takes a little weight off your shoulders, if you know what the plan is and you have a contract you don’t have to worry about as many things each summer,” Dowling said. “Having two-year deal is really nice. Now we can actually buy some furniture, and I feel like we’re just staying at home (in Texas).”
And the Stars are giving Dowling a raise for his dedication to the organization.
Dowling had a two-way contract last season where he made $625,000 in the NHL and $130,000 in the AHL. On his new contract Dowling will make $650,000 in the NHL each of the next two seasons, while his AHL salary would be $200,000 this season and $225,000 for the 2018-19 season.
Dowling also has a $225,000 guarantee for the 2017-18 season and a $250,000 guarantee for 2018-19 — essentially a $25,000 bonus for each season if he doesn’t play in the NHL.
It’s an ideal contract structure for both the Stars and Dowling, who is going to try and win an NHL job in training camp after playing nine NHL games this past season.
“I think I showed and improved my worth at the NHL level and gave them a sense of knowing that they have somebody who’s been there (in the NHL) and can fill a role,” Dowling said. “And they know that if I don’t make the NHL team out of camp, I’m going to go back to Cedar Park and work hard and I’ll be ready right away when they need a call-up.”