|(Credit: Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)
Proving his spot as an impact player, Justin Dowling is the player of the week for the second time in three weeks. Last night's contest not withstanding, Dowling had four assists and had a hand in every goal the Stars scored in Stockton last weekend.
Justin Dowling is an interesting case as far as his hockey career in concerned. It's pretty clear that he could play anywhere in the AHL and put up very good numbers (and be well compensated for it). That's the kind of guy the NHL team signs but doesn't have any expectation of recalling. They are there to make sure the prospects get playing time. It's the situation that Travis Morin finds himself in with Dallas.
Dowling is an RFA this summer, which means Dallas has all the power over whether he returns to the organization. Long-term though, what does Dowling do? In a few years, he'll have to make a choice. You'd imagine that Travis Morin won't always be around and Dowling could slide in as his replacement. There's stability and the 'know what you have' factor in that model.
The other side of the coin is Greg Rallo. Rallo left Texas because Dallas wouldn't sign him to an NHL deal and he wanted a shot at the show. Florida signed him to a deal and he eventually played in 11 NHL games and scored a goal.
It will be interesting to see which direction Dowling goes. That's a ways down the road. This week though, he's the player of the week.