Saturday, June 17, 2017

Ludwig Bystrom Rejoins the Squad with One-Year, Two-Way Deal

(Credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)
Defenseman Ludwig Bystrom has signed a one-year, two-way deal with the Dallas Stars to rejoin the team for 2017-18. It is likely he will spend the season with the Texas Stars.

Bystrom played in 55 games this season with a plus-9 rating. The rating, however, may have been assisted by some sheltered minutes. Bystrom was preferred for offensive zone starts over defensive. Of course, that's just on the eye test. The AHL does not release zone start data.

In addition to prepping for the coming season, Bystrom and his girlfriend are also spending the summer preparing for a new addition to their family. At exit interviews, Bystrom said he had spent a lot of time talking to the team's then-newest father, Andrew Bodnarchuk, about how much having a child changes everything. Of course, best wishes to his family as they get closer to the date.

Here's the release:
Dallas Stars General Manager Jim Nill announced today that the club has signed defenseman Ludwig Bystrom to a one-year, two-way contract.

Bystrom, 22, registered 16 points (2-14=16) in 55 games played for the Texas Stars during the 2016-17 regular season. He finished tied for second on Texas with a +9 plus/minus rating. In 132 career games for Texas, Bystrom has accumulated 35 points (4-31=35). He has also appeared in four career AHL Calder Cup Playoff contests without recording a point.

The 6-foot-1, 175-pound native of Ornksoldskiv, Sweden was originally selected by Dallas in the second round (43rd overall) of the 2012 NHL Draft.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Texas Stars Announce Six Guaranteed Home Dates

(Credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)
The AHL schedule is still forthcoming, but the league has released six home dates for each team to lock in some hype and promotional nights. Texas's six dates are as follows:

Friday, Oct. 6 – Opening Night
Friday, Nov. 10 – Military Appreciation Weekend
Saturday, Nov. 11 – Military Appreciation Weekend
Friday, Dec. 8 – Sing for Santa Night
Saturday, Jan. 6 – Girl Scouts’ Night
Saturday, Jan. 27 – WatchDOGS Night

The league does expect to release its schedule earlier than usual this summer. With several teams competing with NBA basketball for arena dates, the AHL had to wait until August to make a full schedule. Now that Milwaukee no longer shares an arena with the Bucks, the Rampage are the only team in the league competing for home dates. Given that the Spurs own the Rampage, it seems like an easier than usual problem to figure out. All that said, no actual definitive date has been set for the full schedule release. The ECHL has already released its schedule and the NHL usually follows suit in late June.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Texas Stars Sign Captain Travis Morin to AHL Deal

(Credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)
One of the big question marks for Texas is back in the fold for the coming season as Texas has signed Travis Morin to an AHL deal.

It's a change from the past seven seasons, which have seen him on an NHL contract with Dallas. However, it's the right call. Morin is no longer a lineup option for the Dallas Stars but has the veteran experience and scoring touch at the AHL level to be an extremely valuable piece of the development puzzle. Putting him on an AHL deal frees up some contract space for other players. In the end, it's all coming out of the same account since Dallas owns the Texas Stars.

Morin is the only player to skate in every season for Texas and leads the team in almost every offensive statistical category. He won both the regular season and playoff MVP awards when Texas won the Cup in 2014.

Here's the release:
The Texas Stars, American Hockey League affiliate of the NHL’s Dallas Stars, announced Friday the team has re-signed forward Travis Morin to an AHL contract for the upcoming 2017-18 season.

The Texas captain returns for his ninth season with the team and is the only player to skate each season for the Stars since their inception in 2009.

Morin, 33, led the team in scoring last year with 55 points (21-34=55) in 72 games. The 6-foot-1, 200-pound veteran is the franchise career leader in games played (543), goals (157), assists (310), points (467), power-play goals (42) and power-play assists (140). During his time with the Stars, the Brooklyn Park, Minn. native has been selected to four AHL All-Star Classics (2011, 2014, 2015, 2016), appeared in two Calder Cup Finals (2010, 2014) and won the Jack A. Butterfield award as the Most Valuable Player of the playoffs in the Stars’ 2014 run to winning the Calder Cup.

Morin was named the fourth captain in team history on Sept. 18, 2015. He and his wife also sit on the board of the Texas Stars Foundation, which issues financial grants to charitable causes throughout Central Texas.

Morin is also a former winner of the Les Cunningham Award and John B. Sollenberger Award as the AHL’s regular season Most Valuable Player and scoring champion back in 2014. He has also appeared in 13 games for the NHL’s Dallas Stars during his playing career.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Texas Stars Re-Sign Austin Fyten for 2017-18

(Credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)
Forward Austin Fyten is back with the Texas Stars for the next season.

The Alberta native was signed on an AHL deal this past season and was key in stemming the tide of injuries that the Dallas organization suffered. After playing just six games with Hershey in 2015-16, Fyten played 59 with Texas in 2016-17. It is Fyten's third season with the Texas Stars, though non-continguous. He also played for the Stars in 2012-13.

Fyten signed the contract on his birthday, May 3rd.

Here's the release:
The Texas Stars, American Hockey League affiliate of the NHL’s Dallas Stars, announced Tuesday the team has signed forward Austin Fyten to an AHL contract for the upcoming 2017-18 season.

Fyten, 26, returns to the Stars organization for the second straight season and his third overall. Last year, the 6-foot-2, 200-pound forward appeared in 59 games with 12 points (6-6=12) for Texas. Fyten (FIGH-tehn) has appeared in 70 career games for the Stars and 187 games overall in his AHL career with Texas, the Hershey Bears, Lehigh Valley Phantoms and Oklahoma City Barons. The Sundre, Alberta native also has 76 points (32-44=76) in 102 ECHL games in his career.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Texas Stars Add Pair of College Players on AHL Deals

The Texas Stars added two players on AHL deals this afternoon, forward Sheldon Dries and defenseman Shane Hanna. Both come from schools with strong connections to Texas GM Scott White, who went to Michigan Tech and recruits heavily from Michigan schools historically.

Here's the release:
The Texas Stars, American Hockey League affiliate of the NHL’s Dallas Stars, announced Wednesday the team has signed forward Sheldon Dries and defenseman Shane Hanna to AHL contracts for the upcoming 2017-18 season.

Dries, 23, joins the Stars after wrapping up a four-year career at Western Michigan University. During his senior season, the 5-foot-9, 180-pound forward tallied a career-high 16 goals and 30 points in 36 games to help lead the Broncos to the NCAA Tournament. The Macomb, Mich. native recorded 84 points (44-40=84) in 148 career games overall at Western Michigan. Prior to his college career, Dries (DRIGHS) scored 87 points (41-46=87) in 116 games with the junior-level Green Bay Gamblers of the United States Hockey League from 2010-2013.

Hanna (HA-nuh), 23, comes to Texas after appearing in 163 games over a four-year stretch at Michigan Tech with 90 career points (21-69=90). The 5-foot-11, 200-pound blueliner set career highs this past season with 45 games and 27 points (8-19=27) for the Huskies, who earned an NCAA Tournament berth before falling to the eventual champion Denver Pioneers. Before attending Michigan Tech, the Salmon Arm, British Columbia native spent three years in the junior-level British Columbia Hockey League with 74 points (15-59=74) in 108 games from 2010-2013.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Justin Dowling Gets Two Year, Two-Way Deal with Dallas Stars

(Credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)
One of the Texas Stars big question marks was veteran forward Justin Dowling, who was an unrestricted free agent as the team headed into the summer. The Dallas Stars announced this morning that they have re-signed the Alberta native to a two year deal.

Dowling had a break through year, playing in the NHL for the first time in his career. He totaled nine games, earning a pair of assists. Dowling was injured in Dallas in a late season call up and despite being reassigned to Texas, didn't play any of their final games. It gave him a chance to get an early step up on summer's recovery period.

The two year nature of the deal is a vote of confidence in what Dowling has been able to do and his importance to the NHL and AHL club alike.

Some remaining question marks include captain Travis Morin (Dallas UFA), Matej Stransky (Dallas RFA) and Brandon DeFazio (Texas UFA).

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Dallas Stars Sign Forward Roope Hintz, Expected to Play in Cedar Park Next Year

The Dallas Stars have signed forward Roope Hintz to an entry-level contract. Hintz, a second round pick in 2015, is expected to start the season in Cedar Park next year.

Here's the release:
Dallas Stars General Manager Jim Nill announced today that the club has signed forward Roope Hintz to a three-year, entry level contract.

Hintz, 20, registered a career-high 30 points (19-11=30) in 44 regular-season games with HIFK of SM-Liiga, the highest level of hockey in Finland. Hintz (ROO-pay HIHNZ) shared ninth in the league and first on HIFK with a career-high 19 goals on the season, while he ranked second on the club with 30 points. The forward also appeared in 14 postseason games with HIFK as the club fell in the bronze medal game. Hintz led the league with 11 assists and 14 points (3-11=14) in the postseason.

Hintz has amassed 67 points (32-35=67) in 126 career regular-season SM-Liiga games with HIFK and Ilves. The forward has also recorded 20 points (5-15=20) in 34 career postseason games with HIFK and Ilves.

The 6-foot-3, 205-pound native of Tampere, Finland was selected by Dallas in the second round (49th overall) of the 2015 NHL Draft.