Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Texas Stars Solve Backup Issue By Signing G John Muse, Add Vet D Brennan Evans

Muse stymies Curtis McKenzie in a March 12, 2014 game between Charlotte and Texas.
(Credit: Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)
The Texas Stars have announced this morning that they have filled two more roles on the 2015-16 squad. Most importantly, Texas has their backup goalie, John Muse. After many others were taken in the first few hours of free agency back on July 1, it looked like John Muse was the top candidate to fill the job behind Jack Campbell. It looks like the Stars got their man a month later.
Muse has always been solid against the Stars and has quietly set a few records with the Checkers over the past few years, earning their season win record and franchise career win record. He is playoff proven in the ECHL and is just a solid pro all around. He can take the starting reins if you need him to, but if not, he is a great backup too. It's an excellent signing by Texas.

The second signing is defenseman Brennan Evans. Most familiar to Stars fans from his time with the Peoria Rivermen, Evans is also a long-time AHLer. With 12 years in the American League under his belt, this is your big veteran presence that was missing until today. After losing Fortunus, Gaunce and Meech, Evans will make a big difference in getting that veteran experience to work with the younger kids on D.

Here's the release:
The Texas Stars, American Hockey League affiliate of the NHL's Dallas Stars, announced today the team has signed defenseman Brennan Evans and goaltender John Muse to AHL contracts for the 2015-16 season.

Evans, 33, brings a veteran presence to the Stars' blue line with 834 career AHL games on his resume and a 2013 Calder Cup Championship with the Grand Rapids Griffins. The 6-foot-4, 225-pound native of North Battleford, Saskatchewan adds physicality to the Texas lineup with 1,679 penalty minutes in a 12-year AHL career between seven teams (Grand Rapids, Peoria Rivermen, Toronto Marlies, Iowa Chops, Worcester Sharks, Binghamton Senators and Lowell Lock Monsters).

Evans appeared in two NHL playoff games for the Calgary Flames in 2003-04, and scored the game-winning goal in 2013 that clinched the Calder Cup Championship for Grand Rapids in Game 6 against the Syracuse Crunch.

Muse, 27, is an experienced goaltender entering his sixth AHL season. The East Falmouth, Mass., native spent the past four years with the AHL's Charlotte Checkers. Muse (MEWZ) has appeared in 108 games in his AHL career with a 2.65 goals against average and .926 save percentage. Prior to turning pro, Muse competed for four years at Boston College and won the NCAA's Frozen Four National Championship twice (2008, 2010).

The 5-foot-11, 185-pound goaltender also won a Kelly Cup Championship with the ECHL's Florida Everblades in 2012 and was named the Kelly Cup MVP. His 27 wins in 2013-14 and 54 career wins are both franchise records for the Checkers.

18 comments:

  1. Muse is a good enough signing but doesn't change the thinness of the line that represents the risk the team is at not having a go-to goaltender.

    Evens is a joke. He is the same age Lukowich was when he first came to Texas and Lukowch, was a solid NHL vet but was washed up when he got here. Evens is only here because he is attached to Nill through Grand Rapids, obviously the late signing means Evens couldn't attract a bigger pay day then what Texas will offer. It will be explained Evens provides the veteran presence but regardless if he is or isn't that he isn't what the Texas Stars need to win. The franchise continues to penny pinch and collect scraps to fill it's roster.

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    1. I can't say that I've been following the Stars long enough to have a qualified opinion on the subject, but in your opinion who would you have seen signed for defense and goaltending?

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  2. I wouldn't of waited this long. At this point the best case scenario is to see Dallas move some guys like Oleksiak, (Jordie) Benn or a couple other guys for useful pieces in Cedar Park. As it is they (Dallas/Texas) are just filling in the gaps with cheap pieces. Sure it's not to late to "fix" the issues but it is becoming more apparent Dallas doesn't care much about success in Cedar Park.

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  3. Carl, why are you so bitter? You do realize that the purpose of the AHL is to develop prospects for the NHL, right? Dallas has 2 "go-to" goalies, Campbell in the AHL and Desrosiers in the ECHL. On defense, Cedar Park will enjoy an embarrassment of riches in defense prospects. All they lacked was "veteran presence". As for not caring about success in Cedar Park, since Stars owner Gaglardi came aboard and began influencing the players in the Cedar Park roster, they have finished 1st in their division 2 of 3 seasons.

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  4. Who says I'm bitter? I'm just not someone who thinks you can't criticize your (my) team. No matter if you had "My" preferred roster or the current preferred roster it wouldn't change a thing, each would have the same amount of prospects but mine would post a better than .%500 win percentage.

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  5. Muse will be the starter by November 1.

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    1. If Jack gets consistent playing time and defense I'd take that bet.

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    2. I too think Muse will eventually be the starter, and maybe a good one. Look at what time has shown us. Muse has played well on bad teams while Jack has struggled on good teams. That's hard to overlook.

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  6. Jack had consistent playing time and defense last year and he was AWFUL! His five-hole moving post-to-post is huge, and he seems unable to stop high shots over his left shoulder. He moves out of the crease to play the puck in ways that are sloppy and unncessary. Let's face it. Jack Campbell just isn't that good. I don't know what you think happened between the end of last year when he could barely cut it in his ECHL stint, and this year... except that the Stars lost the goalie they WANTED and are stuck with this flop of a first round draft choice. Campbell is terrible, and will not be able to hold the job. It's not like this guy hasn't been given the chance to step up and be the starter before. He's had other chances, and he always blows it.

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  7. Ok let’s analyze the “solid defense” you claim we had. Dallas poached our best defenseman, John Klingberg only after playing 10 games in which he tallied 12 points. Granted that’s how the system works, but this going to the point of consistency and best players. We also lost Nemeth to Dallas and injury before he receive a rehab stint in Cedar Park.

    Our usual defensive stalwart Derek Meech, who had a great Calder Cup season lost his groove last season. Meech went from being able to shoot pucks from the point and seemingly always get through traffic and being a +12 in 2013 to a -8 last season. His ‘solid defensive play’ was so valued he’s no longer on the team, or in the AHL for that matter.

    Fortunus increased his point total from 28 to 34 last season and got into his first fight so he had a better year. Very sorry to lose him.

    Julius Honka being the first round draft pick spent a decent first season with us even though he posted a -10 on the year.

    Speaking of first round draft picks, how about the 2011 first rounder Oleksiak? Talk about flopping, he’s the biggest defenseman I’ve ever seen to not use his size to hit, lean on puck carriers and block shots. He lost a spot on Dallas’ roster to Jokipakka, who was a 7th round (195th overall) of the 2011 draft. If we are so stocked with great defenseman then why was Stephen Johns such a vital part of the Sharp trade? That’s using Jim Nill’s words too. Oh and remember the OT goal that Johns scored to end our post season? That was because Oleksiak failed to contain, hit or take the puck away from him.

    Next, there is no way you can claim the Stars wanted to keep Rynnas. He had the worst record of any goalie Dallas played, granted only two games but with a GAA of 4.57 and a save percentage of .814 why would they play him or give him a contract extension? If a club REALLY wants a player they can and will do anything to keep him, not place him on unconditional waivers to play in the KHL.

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    1. Alright now let’s look at Jack. Playing 28 games out of 76 games is not even close to consistent. Consistent by definition is characterized as unchanging over a period of time. Until the very end of the season in March, Campbell never got more than 3 consecutive starts and that only happened once. He played two games with back to back starts only four times prior to March.
      You said that “Jack could barely cut it in the ECHL stint”, right well when Jack did have consistent time in net in the ECHL he was AMAZING. Courtesy of 100 Degree Hockey: The Texas Stars have recalled goalie Jack Campbell from the ECHL after his seven game stint there. Campbell had not started for Texas since January 20th before the ECHL assignment. He started all seven games while in Boise, amassing a 5-2 record with a 1.73 GAA and .945 SV%.

      During his time in the ECHL, Idaho’s John Mulhern had this to say about Jack: Campbell played as well on Saturday as he did on Friday. The big difference was the team in front of him. Campbell looked calm and collected the entire night, never seemed out of control and if there was any rust leftover from the time off, it was entirely gone by the end of the first period on Saturday.

      When Jack returned and finally got to be in the crease for an entire 10 game stint with the Stars in late March he earned a 7-3 win/loss record with an overall save percentage of .920 including a 27 save shutout for his debut.

      Jack has won gold medals and was awarded the Best Goaltender at the world juniors twice in a row. He also helped Texas win the Calder Cup two seasons ago when he posted a 1.49 GAA and a .942 Save Percentage. Goalies take longer than any other player to develop. Often times facing the “Well what have you done for me recently?” scrutiny. Dallas gave Jack a one year contract and there is no denying that it is a “prove it this year” contract. Dallas has invested in Jack and with consistent playing time I feel Jack will show us all just how good he is and why he deserves to be our starter.

      PS I am also foregoing the argument points of known and unknown injuries our goalies receive and play on and how the entire team struggled with a new coach at the beginning of the season. The Stars went 7 and 13 in their first 20 games of the year including an 8 game losing streak.

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  8. You can rattle off stats all you want -- but the bottom line is that when the game is on the line, Jack Campbell is not the guy you want in there. The starting job has been his for two years but he hasn't even been able to step up and take it. You can blame his teammates all you want, but the bottom line is that this guy doesn't stop enough pucks. Given his pedigree, you would think he would be in the NHL already. But he can't cut it. Believe me - I hope I am 100% wrong on this one, but I just don't see this kid being able to hold the starting position.

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    1. Anonymous seems to have a short memory and has forgotten how Texas got the Calder Cup - by playing two solid goalies in a rotation. Coach clearly had a favorite last year, and it wasn't Campbell. He spent more time on the bench than ever, so it's no wonder he was rusty when called in to play. Dallas finally wised up and got him some playing time out away from Texas, and he proved himself yet again. Tell me, Anonymous, does any of that ring a bell?

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    2. I referenced the stats because that’s what the industry does when sizing up a player’s performance. They use empirical data. I will be the first to admit that when it comes to a goalie’s numbers you have to take them with a grain of salt. I am not blaming the defense for Jack’s performance. You win as a team and you lose as team. Every goalie is going to give up soft goals. The question is how many and were they at critical points in the game? On the other side, GAA and Save Percentage doesn’t tell the full story about break aways, 2 on 1’s, backdoor one timers and tip-ins.

      Nobody could have predicted what Andrew Hammond and Devan Dubnyk accomplished this last year when they were given consistent time with the right system playing in front of them. People were skeptical of these goalies in the AHL. Since I love statistics, in Andrew Hammond’s two seasons in the AHL he played 48 and 25 games with a 2.81 GAA with a .910 SV% and 3.51 GAA with a .898 SV% respectively before going 20-1-2 with a 1.74 GAA with a .942 SV% in the NHL with Ottawa. Dubnyk was traded between Edmonton, Nashville and Montreal in less than two months before signing with Arizona as a free agent. His career AHL numbers are 3.07 GAA with a .894 SV%. In Minnesota he posted a 1.78 GAA and a .936 SV% going 27-9-2. Plus Dubnyk was a first round draft pick in 2004, six years before Campbell was drafted. So when you say one would think Campbell would be in the NHL right now, you never who is going to have their break out season when all of the pieces of the puzzle fit just right on a team.

      We know what Jack’s capable of. He’s been working hard in the off season if you follow him on Twitter or Instagram. Jack’s a great guy and a gifted athlete. I hope he stays healthy, gets at least 8 straight starts in net to begin the season and has a good system in front of him. Stealing a few games standing on his head too wouldn’t hurt. I trust Jack Campbell. I worry about his future if this season doesn’t go well for him or the team but that’s why I’m going to cheer loudly for all of the Stars and heckle the hell out of the opposing goalies with my Section 103 crowd. Go Stars!

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    3. What are you talking about? Campbell didn't play a single Calder Cup playoff game. Thank God.

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    4. I think he's referring to the 2013-14 postseason, which Campbell split with Cristopher NIlstorp until Campbell's injury against Grand Rapids.

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  9. Losing out on one of the two Calder Cup goalies in rotation (Nilstorp) was a problem for last year. Nilstorp went back to Sweden and lead his team to the championship his first year back. Nilstorp was the goalie in for the play-offs. I hope that Campbell gets the job done this year as it is truly his "show me" year for the Stars organization. I don't know what to say about the Muse/Campbell one-two for this year but... I can't wait until practice starts next month!

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  10. Nice workup Joseph B, job well done.

    I'm worried about goaltending but not as much as the team in general. Whoever is in goal isn't going to have the 2012-2014 Stars in front of them. This team will be more like the 2011-12 Stars. It isn't going to be a good for on the job training for a goaltender.

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