Dallas Stars prospect Austin Smith was the NCAA's most prolific goal scorer as a senior at Colgate, but the Texas native couldn't find the back of the net during his short stay with the AHL's Texas Stars after he signed his first professional contracts.
But that doesn't mean his 12 games in Austin were a failure. He still had three assists and looked like he fit right in with other top prospects, and he gained valuable lessons about life and hockey at the professional level.
"There’s more structure. In college we were go, go, go all the time and here I’ve got to learn to stay back and feed into the system," Smith said. "It’s been kind of difficult for me, but I am learning it and adjusting. I am learning where I can use my speed, too, and insert my game into the system."
The other thing that jumped out at me from the article was the note about Smith's playing weight. He was listed by Colgate at 5-foot-11, 180 pounds but said he lost 10-12 pounds over the course of the season. That would put him among the lightest guys, at least by listed weights, on Dallas' roster, and he's old enough that he may not fill out that much more.
After the jump, Glen Gulutzan reflects on his rookie season, how the Phoenix Coyotes are trying to emulate the success of the Stars and the Pacific Division moves on in the playoffs.
- We have reached the point of the off-season where Stars articles are going to be very few and far between. But the official site does offer up this nice story with Glen Gulutzan taking a look back at his first season in the big leagues. [DallasStars.com]
- Stars prospects Brett Ritchie and Jamie Oleksiak teamed up for an early goal, but their Niagara IceDogs lost Game 2 of the OHL Eastern Conference finals. They are now tied up at one game apiece with the Ottawa 67's. [Bullet News Niagara]
- This article was written before the Texas Brahmas lost Game 5 of their playoff series to Wichita on Saturday, but I think it captures the atmosphere of the CHL playoffs night. Game 6 is tonight in North Richland Hills if you're looking for something to do. [CBSLocal.com]
- Also from Friday, so slightly out of date given that the Coyotes have since lost a game to the Chicago Blackhawks, Mac Engel details the rather large role former Stars goalie Mike Smith is playing in the Yotes playoff run. [Fort Worth Star-Telegram]
- Speaking of those Yotes, with the precarious financial position the team is in after years of league ownership, a deep playoff run could be just the thing to bring back a very cynical and distant fanbase. Former Stars coach Dave Tippett is hopeful that the same thing that happened in Dallas when the Stars won the Cup, and even before they when they were simply making decent playoff runs, could happen in the desert. [Arizona Republic]
- I'm sure this will shock all of you, but Reilly Smith was named the Miami RedHawks's MVP and best offensive player at their post-season banquet. [Miami Redhawks]
- The Los Angeles Kings became the first Pacific Division team of this playoff series to move on as they knocked out the Vancouver Canucks in five games. Jarret Stoll had the overtime winner in Game 5, which again came down to the stellar play of Jonathan Quick. [Vancouver Sun]
- The San Jose Sharks will not be moving on yet again, and with so many playoff failures with this group, there might be changes coming in the Bay Area. [San Jose Mercury News]
- There are those out there (hi Brad!) who are less-than-happy with so many of the traditional powers going out early this year. Personally, I like seeing bandwagon-heavy fanbases get knocked down a peg. And from a strictly pragmatic view, the fine folks over at Puck Daddy argue that a final of less-than-marquee teams might be a bonus for the sport. [Puck Daddy]
- I'm planning on writing a little more about this tomorrow, but Jo Innes does a lot of my work for me as she writes about how Brendan Shanahan can turn to science, specifically medicine, to learn how to more effectively hand out suspensions. [Backhand Shelf]
- Lest you think playoff violence is limited to just this season, Down Goes Brown brings you highlights (lowlights?) of playoffs past. [Down Goes Brown]
- We'll have you vote on these a little later in the offseason, but here's what the team is putting forward as their best saves of the season.