Thursday, April 20, 2017

Your Calendar for the 2017 Texas Stars Offseason

(Credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)
The 2017 offseason is set to be the most tumultuous and interesting in years. Here's the calendar of the top events you need to be ready for.

April 29 - Draft lottery. This decides who will draft first, a random selection weighted by how each team finished in the standings in 2016-17. Dallas has a 5.8% chance of winning the top draft pick.

June 17 - Protected lists for the expansion draft are due from member clubs to the NHL. They should be released by the league shortly thereafter.

June 20 - Las Vegas submits its final expansion draft selections.

June 21 - NHL announces new roster for the Las Vegas Golden Knights.

June 23-24 - NHL Entry Draft in Chicago.

June 25 - Deadline for NHL teams to extended qualifying offers to restricted free agents.

July 1 - NHL free agency begins.

Early July - Dallas Stars development camp in Frisco. Usually held almost immediately after free agency, it is often the first time to see that year's draft prospects.

Mid-September - Traverse City prospects tournament in Traverse City, Michigan.

Late September - Dallas Stars training camp opens, likely in Cedar Park again.


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

2017-18 Contract Status for Every Texas Star

(Credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)
The Texas Stars season has come to a close and the next thing to worry about for many players is their professional contract status for next year. Here is the complete list of contract statuses for everyone who signed a standard player contract or ended the season with Texas.

Signed to NHL contract with Dallas
D Gavin Bayreuther
D Andrew Bodnarchuk
G Landon Bow
F Nicholas Caamano
G Philippe Desrosiers
F Jason Dickinson
F Remi Elie
F Denis Gurianov
D Dillon Heatherington
D Julius Honka
D Stephen Johns
D Chris Martenet
F Cole Ully
D Ondrej Vala

NHL Unrestricted Free Agents
F Justin Dowling
F Travis Morin
G Justin Peters
D Dustin Stevenson

NHL Restricted Free Agents (* - Arbitration Eligible)
D Ludwig Bystrom
D Darren Dietz (with Washington)
D Nick Ebert
D Justin Hache
G Maxime Lagace
D Esa Lindell
F Gemel Smith
D Mattias Backman*
F Mark McNeill*
D Patrik Nemeth*
F Matej Stransky*

AHL Free Agents
F Brandon DeFazio
F Austin Fyten
F Caleb Herbert
D Matt Mangene
F Mike McMurtry
F Reid Sturos
F Ethan Werek

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Texas Stars Finish Season with Pugnacious 6-3 Loss to Rampage

(Credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)
In their home finale, Texas put up a chippy effort but ultiamtely fell to the visting Rampage, closing the season three games below .500 at 34-37-1-4. With neither team having anything left to play for except for pride and contracts, it was a spirited contest.

"It's not always easy but at the same time we're professional athletes and that's our job." said Brandon DeFazio. "We won two of three and showed we cared, and that's the biggest thing to take from it."

It being the 14th in the season series between the two teams, it was surprising this was the first one to get so chippy.

"I think we saw each other too much. I'm surprised it didn't happen more often. That was some old school hockey. Funny to see Petey flying down there."

DeFazio, of course, is referring to the almost goalie fight following Texas's first goal of the night. Down 2-0 early, the Stars scored to cut the lead in half. Gemel Smith and goalie Spencer Martin had words after the tally and Justin Peters came flying down the ice as Smith and Martin traded jabs. Ultimately, there was no fight though.

"I haven't seen a goalie fight here in three years and I was hoping to see one," said Coach Derek Laxdal. "I think the fans were too."

The sellout crowd really got into it as Remi Elie and Dillon Heatherington scored with just 26 seconds separating the tallies. Some broken coverage gave the Stars a 4-3 deficit and was Colin Smith's second of the night. No one stepped up on the forward and he had a clean shot on net. Felix Girard would add another and Texas would look to clear the net for a chance at the 6-on-5 tally. Colin Smith scored his third goal of the night into the vacated net, but it was not an empty net goal as Peters was still on the ice.

Coach Laxdal summarized, "It was a tough game. Full crowd and the guys wanted to play hard. It's hard to get up when the season's done. Tonight was a synopsis of our year. Power play hasn't been great and penalty kill has been really bad. It's been a tough year with injuries and call ups. It was a synopsis of our year and showed a lot of the places we have to improve next year."

The Stars will clean out their lockers on Monday as disperse across the country and world for the summer. Caleb Herbert is the only Texas Star remaining who will head to the Idaho Steelheads for their playoff run.

Tonight's lines:
Gurianov-Dickinson-Elie
Stransky-Smith-Caamano
Ully-McNeill-DeFazio
Werek-Fyten-Sturos

Bayreuther-Mangene
Ebert-Heatherington
Bystrom-Dietz

Peters

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Karjalainen, Martenet, Vala, Dowling, Herbert, Stevenson, Lagace (scratch)
Bodnarchuk, Morin (injury)

Tonight's attendance was 6,863, a sellout.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. San Antonio - April 15 2017

Gameday Preview: Texas Stars v. San Antonio Rampage

Texas Stars
34-36-1-4, 71 pts, 0.487
#6 Pacific Division
v.San Antonio Rampage
26-42-5-2, 59 pts, 0.393
#8 Pacific Division
April 15th at 7:00 PM
H-E-B Center at Cedar Park, Cedar Park, TX

For just the second time in eight years, the Texas Stars will end their season without playoffs on the horizon. It's an extremely strong record and one that many teams, including the San Antonio Rampage, for one, should be quite jealous of.

Last night's game saw Texas continue to play a young lineup. Even with Justin Dowling available, the Stars opted for Caamano, Sturos and other young guns to finish the season.

The only question mark is who do you start in net. I could make an argument for any of the three netminders currently on the roster. Perhaps Lagace gets one last chance to send the season off right. I think it's extremely unlikely though. Perhaps Desrosiers gets the call since he had such a good showing last night. And finally, Justin Peters may get the start as Texas looks to win out but doesn't know if Phil has enough in the tank to play two nights in a row.

Stars injury/call up report:
Honka (World Championships)
Morin, Bodnarchuk (injury)

Website: sarampage.com
Blog (unofficial): Rampage with Tony U.
Blog (unofficial): Runnin' With The Herd
Twitter: @SARampage
Twitter: @DanWeissPBP (play-by-play for SA)

Friday, April 14, 2017

Philippe Desrosiers Returns to AHL with 29-Save Shutout

It was a huge night for goalie Philippe Desrosiers. In his first game back in the AHL since November 16th, he pitched a perfect game, stopping all 29 shots against him. It was Desrosiers's first career shutout. The lone goal in the game came off the stick of Denis Gurianov, a swooping right-to-left move that left Spencer Martin down and out before Gurianov even took the shot.

Desrosiers's path back to the AHL may have begun tonight. He was sent to Idaho in November and was reassigned to Norfolk earlier this year. Usually, assignment to another minor league club means the end of the road. However, Desrosiers still has another year on his contract, so that seemed unlikely. With Texas eliminated from the playoffs early this year, the Stars gave Desrosiers a chance against the Rampage in the final three games and it paid off. With any luck, this is the game that will serve as a pivot in his career trajectory.

Texas ends the season tomorrow against San Antonio at home.

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Karjalainen, Dowling, Herbert, Dietz, Stevenson, Lagace (scratch)
Bodnarchuk, Morin (injury)

Tonight's attendance was 10,643.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas at San Antonio - April 14 2017

Gameday Preview: Texas Stars at San Antonio Rampage

Texas Stars
33-36-1-4, 71 pts, 0.480
#6 Pacific Division
atSan Antonio Rampage
26-41-5-2, 59 pts, 0.399
#8 Pacific Division
April 14th at 7:30 PM
AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX

(Credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)
One down, two to go. Texas hits the road for their final trip of the season. It's a simple one down I-35 for their 13th matchup of the year against the Rampage.

Texas is 8-3-0-1 in the season series and somehow 38-13-4-7 over the past five years. The Stars are on a bit of a streak, having garnered points from San Antonio going back six games to December.

Both teams will again focus on finishing the season out right. If I were to pick one game for the Rampage to win in the series, it would be this one tonight. It's the home finale for the club and they'll likely pack the stands.

The Stars will add Justin Dowling back to their lineup, which should allow them to assign Caleb Herbert to the Idaho Steelheads for their playoff run, starting tonight in Colorado.

Stars injury/call up report:
Honka (World Championships)
Morin, Bodnarchuk (injury)

Website: sarampage.com
Blog (unofficial): Rampage with Tony U.
Blog (unofficial): Runnin' With The Herd
Twitter: @SARampage
Twitter: @DanWeissPBP (play-by-play for SA)

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Justin Dowling Returns to Texas Stars for Final Two Games

Justin Dowling has been assigned to the Texas Stars this afternoon for the final two games of the AHL season. He was on the Dallas roster when the season ended, but he was injured and could not be sent down. Now healthy, he can play in those last two games for Texas.

Here's the release:
The Texas Stars, American Hockey League affiliate of the NHL’s Dallas Stars, announced Thursday forward Justin Dowling has been assigned to the team from Dallas.

Dowling, 26, has recorded two assists (0-2=2) in nine games for Dallas this season. He has also registered 28 points (8-20=28) in 49 AHL contests with Texas.

The 5-foot-10, 185-pound native of Cochrane, Alta. went undrafted and was originally signed by Dallas as a free agent.