Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Report: Texas Stars Sign Goalie Landon Bow to AHL Deal

The fax machine has been busy today as reports indicate another signing coming across the wire. Tim Wharnsby reports that goalie Landon Bow, most recently of the Seattle Thunderbirds, has signed an AHL deal with the Texas Stars. Bow is likely to play in Idaho, given the roster depth.

The Alberta native netminder was traded mid-season to Seattle from Swift Current. He earned a 1.96 GAA and .938 SV% in Seattle, a stark improvement on his four-year numbers in Swift Current. His playoff performance further helped his club to the WHL final where they fell to the Brandon Wheat Kings.

Here's the release:
The Texas Stars, American Hockey League affiliate of the NHL’s Dallas Stars, announced Wednesday they have signed rookie goaltender Landon Bow to an AHL contract for the upcoming 2016-17 season.

Bow, 20, joins the Stars after completing a four-year career with the Western Hockey League’s Swift Current Broncos and Seattle Thunderbirds. In 178 career games, the 6-foot-5, 208-pound goaltender compiled an 87-58-16 record with a 2.80 goals against average and a .913 save percentage.

Last season, the Saint Albert, Alberta native was traded from Swift Current to Seattle on Jan. 5 and won 16 of 23 games down the stretch to lead the Thunderbirds to the 2016 WHL playoffs. Bow recorded five shutouts, a 1.73 goals against average and a .938 save percentage during his regular season stretch in Seattle, and appeared in 18 playoff games before the Thunderbirds lost in the WHL Finals to the Brandon Wheat Kings.

Dallas Stars Re-Up Top Forwards Justin Dowling and Brendan Ranford

The Dallas Stars announced this afternoon that they have re-signed two of the leading scorers from the Texas Stars to one-year, two-way deals. Justin Dowling and Brendan Ranford each re-upped for the coming season, arguably an obvious decision for the club to make such an offer. Ranford was a stalwart for the AHL side, leading the team in games played with all 76 to
(Credit: Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)
his name and also leading in points. Dowling missed a large part of the season to injury but still ranked fifth in points.

Here's the release:
Dallas Stars General Manager Jim Nill announced today that the club has signed center Justin Dowling and left wing Brendan Ranford, each to a one-year contract. Per club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Dowling, 25, finished fifth on Texas with 46 points (11-35=46) in 52 regular season games in 2015-16. He finished third on the team with his 35 assists, which tied a career high. In four Calder Cup Playoff contests, he tied for the team lead with two goals and was third with three points (2-1=3). The fourth-year professional has posted 173 career points in 229 career AHL games played, all with Texas.

The 5-foot-10, 190-pound native of Cochrane, Alberta was originally signed by Dallas as an undrafted free agent on March 26, 2014.

Ranford, 24, led Texas with 59 points (19-40=59) appearing in all 76 games played in the 2015-16. His 40 assists led the team and were tied for 12th in the AHL. He was selected for the Pacific Division team at the 2016 AHL All-Star challenge. In four Calder Cup Playoff contests, he tied for the team lead with four points (1-3=4).

The three-year professional has posted 143 points (49-94=143) in in 214 career AHL regular season games played, all with Texas. He appeared in one NHL contest, with Dallas, on Feb. 19, 2015 vs. San Jose. He took 13 shifts in the game and did not record a point.

The 5-foot-10, 190-pound native of Edmonton, Alberta was originally selected by Philadelphia in the seventh round (209th overall) of the 2010 NHL Draft. He was signed by Dallas as a free agent on July 2, 2014.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Dallas Stars Sign 2015 Top Pick Gurianov, Expect to See Him in Texas Next Year

The Dallas Stars have signed Russian forward Denis Gurianov to an entry-level deal and he is widely expected to play for the Texas Stars next season. The 2015 first round pick played this season in the KHL and MHL in Russia but terminated his contract last week. This led to speculation he would make the jump to North American, which was borne out by this signing.

Here's the release:
Dallas Stars General Manager Jim Nill announced today that the club has signed forward Denis Gurianov to a three-year entry-level contract beginning in the 2016-17 season. Per club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Gurianov (guhr-ee-AHN-awv), 18, appeared in 47 games with Lada Togliatti of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL), the highest division of hockey in Russia. The forward registered five points (4-1=5) and six penalty minutes in his rookie season in the KHL. Gurianov also skated in seven games for the club at the Junior Hockey League (MHL) level, recording six points (4-2=6) and four penalty minutes.

The 6-foot-3, 200-pound native of Togliatti, Russia was selected by Dallas in the first round (12th overall) of the 2015 NHL Draft.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

AHL Announces Conditional Approval of Falcons' Move to Tucson

The American Hockey League announced today that it has granted unanimous conditional approval of the ownership transfer and relocation of the Springfield Falcons. The Falcons were purchased by the Arizona Coyotes and will be moving to Tucson, Arizona, in the fall.

Further, the league is reviewing a request to relocate the Portland Pirates from Portland, Maine, to Springfield, Massachusetts. This was previously reported as being a done deal. It is fair to consider that usually when such votes come to the Board of Governors and are publicly announced like this, they are foregone conclusions.

Here's the release:
Convening today in Chicago for its Spring Meeting, the American Hockey League’s Board of Governors unanimously granted conditional approval of the transfer of ownership of the Springfield Falcons AHL franchise to the National Hockey League’s Arizona Coyotes, as well as the relocation of that franchise from Springfield, Mass., to Tucson, Ariz., beginning with the 2016-17 season.

Should all conditions of the transaction be met, the Coyotes’ AHL franchise will begin play this fall at the Tucson Convention Center Arena.

The Board of Governors is also currently reviewing an application for the transfer of ownership and relocation of the Portland Pirates AHL franchise from Portland, Maine, to Springfield, Mass., for 2016-17. It is expected the Board will reconvene to vote on that request within two weeks.

Founded in 1936 and now with franchises in 30 cities across North America, the American Hockey League serves as the top development league for the players, coaches, managers, executives and broadcasters of all 30 National Hockey League teams. More than 88 percent of today’s NHL players are American Hockey League graduates, and for the 15th year in a row, more than 6 million fans have attended AHL games in 2015-16.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Esa Lindell Named Lone Star Grille/100 Degree Hockey Player of the Week

Esa Lindell (Credit: Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)
Each week, we name the Lone Star Grille/100 Degree Hockey Player of the Week. Lone Star Grille offers happy hour weekdays from 4-7 PM just minutes from the Cedar Park Center. The new Higher Ground Bar at the Grille is a smoke-free bar open 6 PM to 2 AM Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Redeem your game ticket for reverse happy hour from 10-12 PM with $2 off specialty cocktails, $4.00 house wine and $2.50 domestic longnecks.

Esa Lindell may have picked up an All-Star Game nod this season, but his overall impact to the Texas Stars blue line has probably been under-appreciated by most fans. In last week's game, Lindell was plus-2 with a goal despite the combined score in those games being 12-3 against Texas.

In all likelihood, Lindell won't play more than a dozen games in the AHL next season (if any). He looked serviceable in his first NHL stint earlier this season. Dallas has some decisions to make on the blue line as they are currently scratching three former Texas Stars who could all be contributing in the NHL. The question is whether that is in Dallas or not. Lindell is still on his entry level contract and could be a bargain for Jim Nill and the crew in Big D next season.

Of course, there are a lot of decisions to be made there. Dallas has four D on expiring UFA deals and another on an RFA expiration. Lindell's play this season gives Nill room to play in case negotiations with any of those UFAs gets too rich for his blood.