Though the early returns for Texas’ NHL club are a mixed bag, there’s nothing mercurial about the Texas Stars. They score a lot and give up a lot.
In some ways, this was expected. This was, after all, the source of consternation amongst Dallas fans. Prospects who looked good in the AHL - Gemel Smith, Jason Dickinson, Remi Elie, Roope Hintz - looked good in the NHL. So when most of them stayed in the AHL, it was expected that the kids would lead the way.
It’s just two games, but that’s exactly what they’re doing.
Through two games, Dickinson, Hintz, and Gavin Bayreuther have at least two points (Dickinson leads the way with four with three goals and a helper).
Dickinson was the first to get the party started, displaying speed and poise to usher in the new season against the Chicago Wolves.
In their back to back, he didn’t let up either.
Perhaps the most impressive play thus far was Dickinson’s goal in OT on Saturday. Not only does he do this with Shea “why aren’t my 5 points through two games good enough Gallant and Mcphee!?” Theodore on his back making a good play to hook Dickinson’s stick, but Dickinson wins the battle and roofs it past former Texas Star Maxime Lagace (admittedly less impressive but still spectacular).
Dickinson had a tough 2016-2017 year. Recovering from hip surgery to begin the season, he had a slow start with just 30 points in the AHL, and looked a little tentative during his ten game stint with Dallas.
But Dickinson’s last season reads more like an anomaly given his AHL 53 point rookie campaign. This season is looking more like the proper sophomore follow up.
There’s a good chance Dickinson will earn a call up as of this writing but even if he doesn’t, it’s clear who is first in line.
The other note of interest is that Dickinson is on a line with Travis Morin and Cole Ully. It’s been clear from the outset that they work in tandem, and for prospect obsessives wanting more out of the forgotten Ully - a welcome surprise, who has tallied 2 points, and thus far a critical part of the line’s chemistry.
The other story is Sheldon Dries. The undrafted 5’9 center out of Western Michigan University also has two points on a surprisingly good 4th line with Samuel Laberge and Mark McNeill.
Texas still looks rough around the edges. Their penalty kill is 25th in the league through two games. Mike McKenna, brought in to provide stability to a team that hasn’t had consistent goaltending in what feels like ages, owns a .863 save percentage. It’s just two games, and improving the PK can help that, but it’s a concern given the team’s history.
Briann Flynn- Justin Dowling- Denis Gurianov
Curtis McKenzie- Roope Hintz- Remi Elie
Jason Dickinson- Travis Morin- Cole Ully
Samuel Laberge- Sheldon Dries- Mark McNeill
Dillon Heatherington- Brett Regner
Gavin Bayreuther- Matt Mangene
Ludwig Bystrom- Niklas Hansson
Texas returns to action Friday October 13 at 7pm (Pacific, unfortunately) against the San Diego Gulls.