The Dallas Stars assigned defenseman Maxime Fortunus to their American Hockey League affiliate Texas Stars today. This just less than a week after he signed a two-way deal with the Stars (he had been on an AHL-only deal prior.) He played in his first NHL game since the 2008-2009 season last night, scoring an assist in the win over the Los Angeles Kings.
This move is allowed during the NHL's holiday break because he didn't have to pass waivers to be reassigned (he passed through last week before signing his contract.) It begs the question, however, of who could be coming back into the lineup. Without Fortunus, the Stars only have five healthy defensemen: Alex Goligoski, Brenden Dillon, Jordie Benn, Kevin Connauton and Cameron Gaunce.
Aaron Rome is on the injured reserve with a lower-body injury. Sergei Gonchar is expected to be out for a while with concussion-like symptoms. Trevor Daley has that high-ankle sprain that is expected to have him out for at least a few more weeks. Stephane Robidas won't be an option until most likely nearly the end of the season after suffering a broken leg.
My guess is that either Rome is coming back (that would be about the same amount of time he needed to come back after his last lower-body injury suffered in practice) or Gonchar's symptoms are clearing up sooner than the staff anticipated. Guess we'll see when which one it is when the NHL returns from their holiday break, which runs through December 26th (Boxing Day.)
The Stars return to action at the American Airlines Center on Friday, December 27th versus the Nashville Predators.
Here's the official release regarding the move from the Dallas Stars:
Dallas Stars General Manager Jim Nill announced today that defenseman Maxime Fortunus has been assigned to the Texas Stars, Dallas' development affiliate in the American Hockey League (AHL).
Fortunus, 30, earned his first career NHL point (assist) in last night's contest against the Los Angeles Kings and has now skated in nine career NHL contests. The 5-foot-11, 205-pound defenseman has played 24 games this season for Texas and leads all team defensemen with 16 points (3-13=16). The native of La Prairie, Que., returns to Texas as the all-time franchise leader among defensemen in games played (296), goals (32), assists (89) and points (121). Fortunus went undrafted and signed his first NHL contract with the Dallas Stars on July 3, 2008.