The Dallas Stars have sent forward Reilly Smith and new defensive prospect Joe Morrow to the AHL on Tuesday, with the Texas Stars set to take on the Houston Aeros tonight in Houston.
Smith has just six points (3 goals, 3 assists) in 28 games with the Stars this season and has had a bit of an up and down season his rookie year with Dallas. He's shown some very real flashes of high potential and he's played decently when handed a top six role, but hasn't exactly seized the opportunities afforded and his production doesn't quite match expectations to this point.
It feels as though he's just about to really break out and perhaps needs one more full summer of conditioning to get the strength he needs to really take advantage of his skillset in the NHL.
At the very least, he'll be with the Texas Stars tonight to get some good game action. There's a chance this move was just to get Reilly into a game, with the Stars off until Friday, and he could return in time for this weekend's games. That also depends on whether Ryan Garbutt is healthy in time for the games this weekend or not.
It's important to note that Clear Day rosters no longer exist in the AHL, which is good, but if Smith is going to compete in the AHL playoffs for Texas he'll have to be on the AHL roster on at the April 3 NHL Trade deadline. We'll have more information on that later this week.
Morrow heads down to Texas, as expected, despite talks that he could play on Friday. Morrow still needs at least the rest of this season in the AHL before he's ready for NHL action -- and perhaps a bit more into next.
Here's the press release:
FRISCO, Texas - The Dallas Stars announced today that the club has assigned forward Reilly Smith and defenseman Joe Morrow to the Texas Stars, Dallas' development affiliate in the American Hockey League (AHL).
Smith, 21, has skated in 28 games for Dallas this season, earning six points (3G-3A), including one helper in Monday night's game against Minnesota. The Toronto native scored his first career NHL goal on Feb. 15 against Vancouver and returns to Texas having scored 27 points (11G-16A) for them this season. Smith was Dallas' third-round selection (69th overall) in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.
Morrow, 20, has skated in 57 games with Pittsburgh's AHL affiliate, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins this season, where he has earned 15 points (4G-11A). The Edmonton native was acquired from Pittsburgh on March 24 along with a fifth-round pick in 2013, in exchange for Brenden Morrow and Dallas' third-round pick in 2013. Prior to turning pro, the 6-foot-1, 204-pound defenseman spent four full seasons playing for the Portland Winterhawks in the Western Hockey League (WHL), where he increased his point totals in each of his final three seasons with the team, earning 31, 49 and 64 points, respectively. During the 2011-12 season, he ranked second among all WHL defensemen in scoring with 64 points (17G-47A) and finished as a WHL First-Team All-Star. Additionally, he helped lead his club to the WHL Finals, earning 17 points (4G-13A) in their playoff run, which was tied for the most by any Portland defenseman.
Morrow was Pittsburgh's first-round selection (23rd overall) in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.
The Dallas Stars take on the Minnesota Wild at American Airlines Center Friday, March 29 at 7:30 p.m. CT (TV: FOX Sports Southwest, Radio: 1310 The Ticket).