A lot of the players expected to be on the Texas Stars roster were sent down to being camp in Cedar Park earlier this week. Landon Bow, Gavin Bayreuther, Philippe Desrosiers, Niklas Hansson, Dillon Heatherington and Cole Ully all saw their time as part of the Dallas Stars training camp come to an end.
What is telling, though, is who remains on the roster today: Jason Dickinson, Remi Ellie, Denis Gurianov, Roope Hintz, and Gemel Smith. Combined, that group has less than 40 NHL games under their belt, with Smith’s 17 leading the way.
Among those young forwards earning praise from Dallas Stars head coach Ken Hitchcock is Hintz.
Hintz, for all accounts, was not expected to make the Dallas roster heading into training camp, even though he was the 49th overall pick in the 2015 entry draft. According to Elite Hockey Prospects, Hintz, as a 19-year-old, tallied 19 goals and 30 points in 44 games playing for HIFK in Liiga in Finland. He recorded 14 more points in 14 playoff games, while also being a plus-5 in those games.
Much of Hintz’s playing time has coincided with the ankle injury to Martin Hanzal, who will not make his preseason debut until Saturday, after the roster decisions are made. Hintz has two assists and one goal in four games this preseason.
Hintz, as a prospect, has been on Dallas’ radar for two seasons now.
An article from NHL.com, states the Stars’ front office were aware of Hintz last season after injuring his back during the 2015-16 season. "When he came back It didn't look like he missed a game," said Stars scout Rickard Oquist in the article. "He was really good, and he was really good all the way through the season."
Hintz played 33 regular season games for HIFK in 2014-15, registering 20 points (8 goals, 12 assists) and a plus-15 rating. HIFK finished with the best record in the league and advanced to the championship series in the playoffs before losing to Tappara in six games. He scored two goals in 18 playoff games. At the time, Stars Assistant general manager Les Jackson called Hintz a “very impressive player.”
With names like Hanzal, Jason Spezza, Mattias Janmark, Radek Faksa, Tyler Seguin and Devin Shore, it will be hard to imagine Hintz makes the opening-night roster, at least as a center. But the added depth, speed and talent in the middle is exactly what Dallas needs now, and in the future.