Umberger aims for NHL return, earns tryout deal with Stars

Former Philadelphia Flyers left wing R.J. Umberger takes a shot against Dallas Stars goalie Antti Niemi. (Tony Gutierrez/AP)

After spending the entirety of the 2016-17 season watching from the stands, veteran winger R.J. Umberger is looking to return to the NHL.

The longtime Columbus Blue Jacket seems to have at least one option, as the Dallas Stars have invited the 35-year-old to training camp on a tryout offer, according to the Columbus Dispatch‘s Aaron Portzline.

Umberger broke into the big leagues with the Philadelphia Flyers, posting 20 goals in his rookie campaign in 2005-06. He spent two more years in Philadelphia before being traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2008.

The Pittsburgh native found his footing in Ohio, becoming a reliable contributor while putting up 20 goals or more for four straight seasons. Umberger’s best effort came in 2010-11, when he racked up 25 goals and 57 points, ranking him second in team scoring behind star winger Rick Nash.

After returning to Philadelphia for two more seasons, appearing in only 39 games in the latter of those two years, the former first-round pick sat out the 2016-17 campaign following a buyout from the Flyers.

The Stars certainly have some holes to fill up front. The club lost depth forward Cody Eakin in the expansion draft and also chose to part ways with secondary scorers Patrick Sharp and Ales Hemsky.

It remains to be seen whether or not the veteran Umberger can find a role with the Stars, though Dallas doesn’t seem averse to bringing in older talent, having already added 31-year-old Alexander Radulov and 30-year-old Martin Hanzal this summer.