Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Texas Stars Gain Goaltender Justin Peters, Trade Brendan Ranford, Branden Troock to Arizona

(Credit: Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)
The Dallas Stars have made their first trade in what may be a busy month. This one is a purely AHL/ECHL deal designed to give several players a fresh start with new teams and potentially give Texas a missing piece, solid goaltending.

The Stars will acquire goalie Justin Peters from the Arizona Coyotes. Peters is currently playing in Tucson, where he does not have stellar numbers (4.17 GAA, .868SV%, 5-6-0 record). However, last season in Hershey, he took the Bears to the Calder Cup Final against Lake Erie. He was 11-9 in the postseason but with a .922 save percentage. As Adin Hill seems to have taken over the net in Tucson, Peters is available.

"Obviously it adds depth and NHL experience to the position," said Texas Stars GM Scott White, concerning the acquisition. "He started in Arizona hoping to take more of a role but got hurt. A couple of young guys came in and he's looking for an opportunity. We felt we needed depth and NHL experience at that position for our group."

To get Peters, Texas gives up two forwards, both of whom played on the Calder Cup team as new players. Brendan Ranford entered the league as a rookie that season and had big chemistry with Travis Morin and Curtis McKenzie after Colton Sceviour headed to Dallas. He played in every game last season, with a career best 59 points. This year he was scratched for the early season and has only tallied 17 points in 36 games. It's unlikely he would get another deal with Dallas, so he's going to get another shot with a new team. Branden Troock fits a similar mold. On a Dallas contract but having played most of his career in bottom six minutes in the AHL, he is unlikely to receive another deal from Dallas. A change of scenery for him, especially after a solid stint in Idaho, could help him break into a more power forward role in another organization.

White continued, "For all four players, it's a fresh start. Troock has been looking to get in the door, so a fresh start is wise. Ranford struggled this year, and this will give him an opportunity and a fresh start as well."

Finally, Texas will acquire defenseman Justin Hache and likely assign him to the ECHL. He has played most of the year in ECHL Rapid City. White noted that Hache got stuck in a logjam at defense in Tucson, similar to Troock and the offense in Texas. Hache will be recalled to Texas and available this weekend.

The main thing to think about here is how will Texas manage its now three-headed goalie situation: Maxime Lagace, Landon Bow and Justin Peters. White says he plans to carry all three goalies for now and that "these things tend to sort themselves out." I would imagine Peters becomes the de facto starter. If someone is assigned to Idaho, it adds to the difficuly for Neil Graham as he is already juggling Philippe Desrosiers, Branden Komm and the injured Henri Kiviaho in net. White added, "It won't be easy on Neil but that's part of the job."

White also agreed with the assessment that the system has a lot of bodies at the goalie position but not a lot of depth.

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