Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Texas Stars Get Big Upgrade In Net Among Several UFA Signings

(Credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)
Despite all my predictions and preconception, the first few days of free agency were exceptionally relevant to the Texas Stars. Usually you won't see deals rolling in for players with AHL impact until after Independence Day. This yea, Jim Nill and Scott White attacked players with big time potential to improve their AHL team by a wide margin.

The first one to mention, while it wasn't the first one announced, is in the net. Goaltending was a bit of a mess for the Texas Stars last season. Justin Peters was supposed to calm the waters and provide a veteran presence, but he was unable to right the ship and the Stars missed the playoffs.

To remedy that, Texas swung big. Scott White has added Mike McKenna, a quality AHL veteran who is coming off a trip to the Calder Cup Finals with Syracuse. Through an AHL career that spans back to 2005, McKenna has been solid and reliable for almost a dozen different teams. Over more than 400 games, he's 206-163-21 with .913 SV% and 2.70 GAA inluding 26 shutouts. He brings 45 games of AHL playoff experience, including his most recent stint in Syracuse where he was 13-9 with .911 SV% and a 2.68 GAA.

Regardless of what happens in the backup slot for the Texas Stars, the veteran #1 position is solidly filled by McKenna. For what it's worth, he's also a great quote, so it should be fun to hear from him more this season.

Brent Regner, a defenseman, is the next pick-up. He comes from Springfield most recently but will be more familiar to Stars fans as a Chicago Wolf. He put up 13 points in just 28 games last season and fits solidly into the AHL lineup for Texas.

Finally, Brian Flynn is a player who could spend time with Texas. While he did play 51 games with Montreal last season on a one-way deal, Dallas has signed him to a two-way deal with a guaranteed total contract value of $350,000, according to CapFriendly. The forward hasn't seen time in the AHL since 2013, however.

5 comments:

  1. Depending on how McKenna performs do you see him as a possible backup for Ben Bishop next season after Kari's contract is up? McKenna's age seems like a career AHLer but if he proves solid and cheap enough he could move up to make room for one of our drafted goalie prospects to begin their development. Speaking of which, I know it won't be this next season but do you know when we can expect to see Jake Oettinger? With a full time goalie coach in Texas, Dallas could actually find itself with a solid goalie plan for the future.

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  2. I don't think McKenna makes the jump to NHL backup. I think Dallas is more likely to sign a journeyman NHL backup. We won't see Oettinger for several years. Since he's in college, it's a lot trickier since he will lose his ability to go back to college once he signs even an ATO.

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    1. Good points, thank you Steven. Can we expect Jim Bedard to be a full-time AHL Goalie Coach with Texas or splitting his time with ECHL/scouting too?

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  3. I wouldn't expect him to spend much time in Idaho. Not sure about scouting.

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  4. Awesome thanks Steven. What I would have given to have an AHL goalie coach 2-3 years ago.

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