The Dallas Stars had yet another lower-line forward return from injury on Monday, this time with winger Curtis McKenzie being re-assigned to the Texas Stars of the AHL.
McKenzie came up to the NHL in October following injuries to Patrick Eaves and Travis Moen but only played in eight minutes of one game before taking a brutal boarding/checking from behind foul from Nikita Nesterov, which injured his hip. He spent the next month on injured reserve, which is actually a relatively short amount of time given how bad the injury looked initially.
Nesterov was suspended two games for the hit.
Although McKenzie is healthy again, both Eaves and Moen are as well - Stars coach Lindy Ruff told the media at today's practice that both both are now available after suffering a lower and upper body injury, respectively. Given those additions, and given that the Stars continue to carry eight defensemen on the 23-man roster, there's simply not space for more than one extra forward, and McKenzie and Mattias Janmark were the only waiver-exempt forwards on the roster.
Returning to the AHL isn't necessarily a bad thing for McKenzie, though. He hasn't played in a month and had a very strong debut with the Texas Stars this season (three assists in a single game) before being called up. He'll likely get top-line minutes with a strong Texas squad to get his game conditioning back.
Here's the full release on the move:
Dallas Stars General Manager Jim Nill announced today that the team has reassigned forward Curtis McKenzie to the Texas Stars, Dallas' top development affiliate in the American Hockey League (AHL).
McKenzie, 24, appeared in one game for Dallas suffering a lower body injury in the contest. Prior to his game with Dallas, he played in one game with Texas and posted three points (0-3=3).
The 6-foot-2, 205-pound native of Golden, B.C. was selected by Dallas in the sixth round (159th overall) of the 2009 NHL Draft.