Roster Madness Begins: Stars Recall Austin Smith, Sign C Justin Dowling

Austin Smith (Credit: Steven Christy)

Texas was in action this morning on the transaction front ahead of the anticipated callup of several of their top players to the NHL. Rookie winger Austin Smith was recalled this morning, and Texas signed ECHL All-Star center Justin Dowling.

A brief look at the AHL transactions page shows that the Stars are not alone in recalling or stockpiling ECHL talent. While no NHL players have been officially recalled to this point, everyone knows what's coming and the race is on to gather top quality talent.

Texas will definitely have to replace Cody Eakin and Tomas Vincour permanently. Depending on the lineup, they might also be looking at replacing Reilly Smith on the forward lines. Reilly needs to be in the top six to shine. If he isn't in Dallas, he will be in Texas, likely with a new center.

Depending on Tyler Sloan's recovery this week, Texas may need to bring up Jace Coyle, who just recently returned from a foot injury. Stay tuned...

Here's the release:
The Texas Stars, proud American Hockey League affiliate of the Dallas Stars, announced today that Dallas has reassigned right wing Austin Smith to Texas from the Idaho Steelheads, their ECHL affiliate. The Stars also announced that center Justin Dowling has been signed to a standard AHL contract (SPC) and has been called up from Idaho.

Smith, 24, returns to Texas for the fourth time this season. The Dallas, Texas native has played in 23 games for Idaho this year, scoring 30 points (19 goals, 11 assists), a +17 plus-minus rating and averaging 1.30 points-per-game. He is currently fourth in the ECHL in goals and tied for fourth in the league in plus-minus. Smith has appeared in four games with the Stars this season and has played in 16 career AHL games for Texas, tallying three assists and eight penalty minutes. His four-point (2 goals, 2 assists) performance for Idaho on Friday night in a 7-2 win over the Bakersfield Condors earned Smith national recognition as his two dazzling goals were No. 2 on ESPN’s SportsCenter Top Plays during Saturday night’s broadcast.

Dowling, 22, comes to Texas after leading the Steelheads and ranking second in the ECHL in both points and assists. In 34 games with Idaho this season the Cochrane, Alberta native has 46 points (13 goals, 33 assists), 16 penalty minutes and a +7 rating. In his second full professional season, Dowling (5’10”, 190 lbs.) has appeared in 30 AHL games for the Abbotsford Heat, recording six points (2 goals, 4 assists) and 8 PIMs. He played four full seasons of major junior hockey with the Swift Current Broncos of the Western Hockey League, where he was teammates with current Stars forwards Cody Eakin and Taylor Vause. Dowling had 242 points (81 goals, 161 assists) and 57 penalty minutes in 280 career WHL games.


  1. Amazing to wonder what this Stars team looks like last weekend vs this upcoming weekend. It feels like we've reached "two separate seasons" territory in terms of AHL hockey. Historical moment for sure (also potentially ugly)

    1. Uglier for some than others. San Antonio will not be hurt much and will keep their strong D/G guys in town. Could be a second half team if they can survive the Rodeo Trip.

  2. Same with Houston. this could be a game changer for sure with Texas signing younger talent from the ECHL. and losing Eakin,Benn,Vincour & Dillion.

    and if Gully brings in Nilstorp to Dallas and sends us Bachman for the rest of his contract it could get worse.

    1. Pretty sure Bachman is on a 1-way contract, and Nilstorp is only a 1-year deal. No reason to make that swap, as Bachman hasn't even had a chance to play and Dallas would likely lose him.

    2. Bachman will be playing in Austin for a few games to get back in game-shape. Bachman is exempt from waivers, which is why that's possible. This would not be a permanent swap.

    3. Last year we got a one way player in Raycroft and sent up a two way guy in Bachman, don't see why that can't happen again. One way just means he gets paid the same in the NHL or AHL (anonymous). two way contracts get paid more in the NHL than AHL. I think our success will depend more on Nilstorp than any other single move. I also thing Dallas has a growing history of not giving a flip about what happens in Cedar Park (see last years goalie situation as evidence) and believe they will take Nilstorp because he is the better of the two.

  3. yeah i heard that too right as i walked out the door earlier. which makes more sense and the fact of the matter is i don't care for Bachman i'd rather have Nilstorp in goal. i think we would have a better chance of making playoffs this year.


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