Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Texas Stars Should Expect Light ATO Class This Spring

Niklas Hansson (Credit: Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)
In previous seasons, Texas has added a number of amateur tryout players to the roster as the playoff race has heated up. Many of these were draft picks who finished their seasons like Brenden Dillon and Jack Campbell. Others include undrafted players like Derek Hulak. While I can't account for the undrafted players that Texas may have its eye on, the drafted or signed player pool is rather limited right now for the Stars. Many of the players drafted in the past few years went without a contract. Alex Peters and Brent Moran are two examples.

Last season, I did a story on the Stars' ATO tradition that may help you understand the process better.

Chris Martenet, D
Ottawa 67s, OHL
8th seed


Chris Martenet went deep in last year's OHL playoffs with the London Knights. He won the Memorial Cup with a team that featured Christian Dvorak, Mitch Marner and Matthew Tkachuk. Martenet was a gaudy +44 on that team, but then again, almost everyone was a plus player for that squad. Martenet was traded midseason this year to the Ottawa 67s. The 67s are on the edge of the playoffs, technically tied in points with the 9th place team. If they don't make it, their last game is on March 19th. Even if they do, they would be an eight seed and may not make it out of the first round. Martenet is a big kid at 6'7, 212 lbs. Dallas needs him to grow into that frame and be more physical than the easy comparison of Jamie Oleksiak.

Roope Hintz, LW/C
HIFK, Liiga
9th seed


As the season began, Hintz was either going to be a Dallas Star or go back to Finland for another season. As this season draws to an end, Texas may be his landing place. It depends on the bracket though. While Hintz's HIFK is in 9th place, that's good enough for the side-bracket for the last two playoffs spots. Teams 7-10 play-in for the last two spots in the Liiga playoffs. Their last regular season game is March 13th. Even if they are immediately eliminated, things like travel and immigration can hamper efforts to get Hintz over to North America quickly.

Niklas Hansson, D
HV-71, SHL
3rd seed


Hansson has actually been on an ATO in Texas before. Last year he got into six games with Texas in the regular season and added four playoff contests. He signed an entry level contract with Dallas before that ATO and is likely to come over soon enough. Right now, his HV-71 squad is in 3rd place in the league. He will probably have at least two playoff rounds as a result. His last regular season game is March 9th, but the playoffs will take much longer.

Joseph Cecconi, D
University of Michigan, NCAA
Unranked


This one is a bit of a long shot. It only happens if Dallas plans to have Cecconi come out of college. Michigan is not having a great year, 9-16-3 overall and unlikely to make much noise in the conference tournament. The team plays its last regular season game on March 11th against Penn State. The conference tournament is March 16-18.

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