(Update @ 7:02 PM CST: Well, the Swift Current Broncos did have the news of Matt Tassone on their website earlier today, but they have since taken it down. We've also gotten word that the Texas Stars themselves have denied that they have signed Matt to a deal. We're not quite sure what caused the 'misfire report' from the Broncos, if anything it could possibly be a case of some final contract details needing to be ironed out or it may even be a simple tryout with the Texas Stars. Bottom line, the signing still may end up happening anyway, but in the meantime there hasn't been an official deal made... yet. Stay tuned!)
The Swift Current Broncos of the Western Hockey League announced on their website today that graduating forward Matt Tassone has finally signed a contract with the Texas Stars today. Tassone will fly to Dallas this weekend before heading out to play in the Traverse City tournament in September.
We here at DBD are not ashamed to admit that we love Matt Tassone. Drafted by the Stars in the 6th round of the 2008 draft, the center has been plagued by multiple injuries that prevented him from signing. In four years in the WHL, he's only played in 187 games. He managed to repair a labrum tear in his left shoulder, but had to have reconstructive surgery on his right shoulder. He's also suffered neck injuries as well. These injury concerns prevented the Stars from offering him a contract earlier this offseason.
Our own Brandon Worley had an opportunity last year to sit down and talk with Tassone. You can read the full article here. One thing that stood out was Tassone's determination to improve, and his obvious leadership abilities. If you ask Brandon, he'll rave about this kid. Tassone is simply a good prospect, a great person, who has had an incredibly unfortunate amount of luck. So here's hoping that this is the turning point for Matt. We wish him well in Cedar Park next year.
Here's a snippet of Brandon's interview with Tassone:
"I'm a hard-nosed, power forward that can put the puck in the net; I have that skill set. I'm just a hard working player. I bring leadership to a team and I've always been a leader on the teams I've played on, I've always had a letter on my chest. I think that's something I pride myself on, I'm a good leader and I like to show by example. I like to take games under my belt and do what I need to do to help the team win."
It's that desire to win, that inherent leadership and physical ability that led the Stars to draft Tassone in 2008. Yet it was Les Jackson and Brett Hull who drafted him, when the organization was focused on a certain skill set in their forwards. Under Joe Nieuwendyk, the Stars have shifted a bit as they target smaller, speedier centers and wingers who are primarily playmakers.
Matt Tassone is one of those rare, highly skilled players who's head in undoubtedly in the right place. When talking with the young player it was apparent that he was hesitant to talk about his future in the AHL and beyond, and was much more focused on his current team and where they are headed this season. The Swift Current Broncos were just a few points back of the eighth place team in their conference and were looking to rebound after some tough losses.
Like the Stars, the Broncos have a tough road ahead but not an impossible one. With Tassone back on the ice and finally feeling comfortable after ten months away from his team, there's no doubt that he'll do whatever it takes to help his team win. He's a player that will not hesitate to come to the aid of a teammate, to protect others around him with big hits or to send a message with a punishing fight. With his scoring ability growing and his offensive potential still untapped, Tassone is on the fast track to becoming not only an important part of his future AHL teams but could potentially be an important asset for the Stars down the road.