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Scott Darling was Stars’ 1st choice to be new goaltender, per report

Dallas general manager Jim Nill wasn’t willing to give up a third-round pick for the Chicago netminder.

Chicago Blackhawks v Toronto Maple Leafs Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images

The Dallas Stars made a big move to solidify the goaltending position when they traded for Ben Bishop’s rights then signed him to a six-year deal worth nearly $30 million in early May.

But Bishop wasn’t Dallas general manager Jim Nill’s first choice, according to Joural de Montreal’s Renaud Lavoie. Nill wanted Chicago Blackhawks backup Scott Darling, who at the time was a pending unrestricted free agent like Bishop, to be Dallas’ goaltender of the future.

According to Lavoie, Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman pushed Nill to exchange a third-round pick for Darling’s exclusive negotiating rights. Nill wasn’t willing to pay up, so Bowman moved ahead and dealt Darling to the Carolina Hurricanes for the Ottawa Senators’ original third-round pick in this year’s draft. Darling then cashed in with a four-year deal worth $16.6 million contract with Carolina.

With Darling off the market, the Stars scooped up Bishop from the Los Angeles Kings for the Montreal Canadiens’ original fourth-rounder.

Nill thought the price was too high for Darling. Bishop has more experience as a team’s top goaltender with Tampa Bay, but he’s two years older than Darling. His deal is also two years longer and is $800,000 more than Darling’s.