Dallas Stars Sign Maxime Fortunus, Assign Oleksiak

Maxime Fortunus (Credit: Steven Christy)
Mark Stepneski reports this morning that the Dallas Stars have signed defenseman Maxime Fortunus to a one-year, two-way contract.  Jamie Oleksiak was also assigned to the Texas Stars at the same time.

Fortunus was on Dallas contract for the first four years of his stay with the Texas Stars. This season, he signed a two-year AHL deal with the Texas Stars to stay on as their captain and a solid part of their blue line. Today he was rewarded with an NHL contract, which will likely up his paycheck and put him in a position to be called up in case of further injury issues.

Fortunus is currently riding a five game point streak that coincides with the Stars' five game win streak. He is on the best points pace of his career with 3-13-16 in 24 games played. His current AHL season high point mark is 34 in 2010-11.

Due to the business side of the deal, Fortunus cannot play tonight for the Texas Stars as he waits to clear waivers. This means that Oleksiak will definitely play tonight for Texas along with new Texas signee Russ Sinkewich.  Dallas is still assessing its options as to whether to assign or keep Fortunus after he clears waivers.

Here's the release, which also makes the Sinkewich signing official:
The Texas Stars, proud American Hockey League affiliate of the Dallas Stars, announced today that Dallas has signed defenseman Maxime Fortunus to a one-year contract. Per club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed. Dallas has also returned defenseman Jamie Oleksiak on loan to Texas. Additionally, Texas has signed defenseman Russ Sinkewich to a professional tryout contract, calling him up from the Toledo Walleye of the ECHL.

Fortunus, 27, has skated in 24 games this season for Texas and leads all team defensemen with 16 points (3-13=16). The native of La Prairie, Que., is Texas' all-time franchise leader among defensemen in games played (296), goals (32), assists (89) and points (121). The 5-foot-11, 205-pound defenseman has skated in eight NHL contests, all as a member of the Dallas Stars during the 2009-10 campaign. Fortunus was undrafted and signed his first NHL contract with the Dallas Stars on July 3, 2008.

Oleksiak, 20, has played seven games for Dallas this season, collecting five shots and two penalty minutes. The 6-foot-7, 250-pound defenseman was originally recalled from Texas on Nov. 30, where he earned five points (3-2=5) and a plus-4 rating in 22 games for the club. The native of Toronto, Ont., was Dallas' first-round selection (14th overall) in the 2011 NHL Draft.

Sinkewich, 28, joins Texas after beginning the year in the ECHL with Toledo, where he has eight assists and 25 penalty minutes in 20 games. The Westlake, Ohio native also played one AHL game this year on a PTO with the Lake Erie Monsters, where he had an assist on November 30th at Hamilton. Undrafted after playing four years at Bowling Green State University, Sinkewich is currently in his fifth pro season and has played in 268 career pro games, including 63 in the AHL for Lake Erie, Milwaukee, Abbotsford, Bridgeport and Portland, recording seven assists and 47 penalty minutes. The six-foot-three, 215-pound blue liner made his Calder Cup playoff debut last season with the Portland Pirates in their first round series against the Syracuse Crunch. Sinkewich won the 2011 Kelly Cup Championship as a member of the Alaska Aces.