The full roster and coaching staff for the 2013-14 season now seem to be in place, as the Dallas Stars have announced the hiring of James Patrick as an assistant coach on Wednesday. This hiring was the expected one, as the Stars needed a coach for the defensemen and Patrick had been Lindy Ruff's defensive assistant in Buffalo since 2006.
Patrick is a highly decorated and experienced former NHL defenseman, appearing in over 1200 games with four different after being drafted by the New York Rangers in 1981. Patrick was an accomplished player for Team Canada on the international stage, and was also on the Sabres during the 1999 Stanley Cup Final against the Dallas Stars.
The Dallas Stars decided not to make sweeping changes on defense this summer, especially compared to the changes up front, and many were concerned that no change meant the same struggles of the past few seasons. The Stars are apparently confident in their compliment of young defensemen still developing, however, and obviously feel that the right coaching and system can help alleviate some of the defensive issues that kept cropping up the past few seasons.
Along with Curt Fraser, the Stars now have three coaches behind the bench with a wealth of NHL experience. Goaltending coach Mike Valley also remained on the team staff this summer.
Here's the official release from the team:
FRISCO, Texas - Dallas Stars General Manager Jim Nill and Head Coach Lindy Ruff announced today that James Patrick has been named as an assistant coach.
Patrick, a 21-year NHL defenseman, most recently served as an assistant coach for the Buffalo Sabres over the past seven seasons, working under Ruff from 2006-13, as well as Ron Rolston to finish out the 2012-13 campaign. Prior to becoming an assistant coach in Buffalo, he began the 2005-06 season as their skill development coach before finishing his playing career for Frankfurt of the German Elite League.
A first-round selection (ninth overall) in the 1981 NHL Draft by the New York Rangers, Patrick currently stands 20th amongst all NHL defensemen in games played (1,280), 29th in assists (490) and 30th in points (149-490=639). Over the course of his playing career, he spent time with the Rangers, Hartford, Calgary and Buffalo and appeared in the 1999 Stanley Cup Final with Buffalo against Dallas.
Patrick, 50, had a decorated international career, having won championships for Team Canada at the 1982 World Junior Championship and 1987 Canada Cup, as well as bronze with the 1983 World Junior team. He also represented Canada at the 1984 Winter Olympics and the 1983, 1987, 1998 and 2002 World Championships.
The native of Winnipeg, Manitoba attended the University of North Dakota for two seasons (1981-83), winning the NCAA National Championship in 1982 while being named to the NCAA National Championship All-Tournament Team.