Jamie Oleksiak has been assigned to the Texas Stars.
He was so close, playing in six of the Dallas Stars' seven preseason games, but will start the season at the AHL level after all. Kevin Connauton, who has impressed, is the man left standing and it may have come down to simple waiver eligibility issues as the deciding factor.
Either way, Oleksiak is not far away now, and he'll get a chance to play heavy minutes and continue trying to develop a more physical side to his game.
"We need him to be a real hard defender, a real hard guy to play against," Ruff told media last week. "We know he has offense, but we want him to become a player who other teams hate to play against. That could take some time, and the decision is whether that time is best spent here or if it's playing 25 minutes a game [in the AHL]."
The decision has been made, and Dallas is down to eight on defense, only six of which are healthy at the moment. As Razor pointed out on Twitter the Red Wings (and Jim Nill) have been known for making sure prospects are overly ripe before inserting them full time at the NHL level. Oleksiak won't be gone for long.
Jokipakka, Nemeth, Ritchie, Smith and Stransky also re-join Texas, who played their first preseason game last night. Left on the roster are Travis Morin, Colton Sceviour, Chris Mueller, Luke Gazdic, and Scott Glennie (injured), though the final forward spot appears to belong to Lane MacDermid.
Expect news of waivers for some before long. UPDATE: Morin, Sceviour and Gazdic are indeed on waivers.
Here's the release:
Dallas Stars General Manager Jim Nill announced today that the team has reduced the training camp roster by seven players. The Stars training camp roster now stands at 29 players, including three goaltenders, eight defensemen and 18 forwards.
The following six players have been assigned to the Texas Stars, Dallas' development affiliate in the American Hockey League:
PLAYER POSITION TEAM ASSIGNED TO ACQUIRED Jyrki Jokipakka Defenseman Texas (AHL) 2011 NHL Draft (7th round, 195th overall) Patrik Nemeth Defenseman Texas (AHL) 2010 NHL Draft (2nd round, 41st overall) Jamie Oleksiak Defenseman Texas (AHL) 2011 NHL Draft (1st round, 14th overall) Brett Ritchie Right Wing Texas (AHL) 2011 NHL Draft (2nd round, 44th overall) Austin Smith Right Wing Texas (AHL) 2007 NHL Draft (5th round, 128th overall) Matej Stransky Right Wing Texas (AHL) 2011 NHL Draft (6th round, 165th overall)
Also, the following player was released from his professional tryout and will report to Texas (AHL):
Maxime Fortunus Defenseman