For many top hockey prospects nearing the end of their junior careers, their main focus is winning a league championship — maybe even a trip to the prestigious Memorial Cup.
But for Dallas Stars prospect Dawson Barteaux, however, his focus during his fourth — and likely final — WHL season is on something a little different: paying forward the leadership that he was given when he was coming up in the league.
Sure, a league championship would obviously be pretty great too. But as a member of a young (even by junior hockey league standards) Red Deer Rebels team that has a record of just 8-15-0-3 thus far into the year, that goal seems a little far away right now.
Instead, Barteaux’s main goal now is taking the lessons that he learned from previous captains and team leaders and teaching them to his young Rebel teammates as Red Deer’s 2019-20 captain.
“It’s obviously a huge honor,” the 19-year-old Barteaux said of being named Red Deer’s captain this summer. I chatted with the Rebels defender on Sunday in Calgary after his team’s 3-2 come-from-behind overtime win against the Calgary Hitmen.
“The names before me are pretty outstanding, especially last year — I got to learn a lot from Reese Johnson [now with Rockford in the AHL]. He’s one of the best leaders I’ve ever had.”
Also naming Anaheim Ducks first-round pick Sam Steel, Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Adam Brooks, and former Rebels teammate Grayson Pawlenchuk (who actually played for Dallas in the 2016 Traverse City prospect tournament) as previous leaders he looked up to, Barteaux says he takes a lot of pride in now playing that role for others.
“I try to lead by example. I’m not a huge vocal guy, but I want to lead by example out there and be as good of a teammate as I can be,” he said.
“I took a little bit from all those guys just to make sure I can be the best captain and best veteran for these young guys.”
As a Stars prospect since 2018 — when the team selected him in the sixth round, 168th overall — Barteaux has experience and knowledge from the organization that he can draw from.
That’s especially true after this past fall. The right-shot defenseman was plenty busy, taking part in the Traverse City tournament, joining Dallas for training camp, taking part in his first ever NHL preseason game and, most importantly of all, signing his entry-level contract with the Stars.
Talk about a whirlwind of events.
“I got into my first preseason game — which I didn’t really see coming, but obviously it was a huge honor to get my first little taste of the whole thing, so that was super exciting. Then I got to travel with the team to Minnesota, and [General Manager] Jim Nill talked with me on the plane on the way back and just let me know that they wanted to get me onto paper. It was a huge deal, and I got to the back of the plane and gave my parents a call right there, telling them the good news. But once I got back and got it done, I was just looking forward to being a really good player in this league.”
“It’s an awesome experience getting to do all of that,” he continued. “You’re going to Traverse City and you’re playing against the best young guys, through a pretty big age range, honestly. It’s a super competitive tournament — it goes from zero to 100 right there, you haven’t played any games and you go right into something like that. And then you get into training camp and you’re with all those big NHL guys, and you might be intimidated but you definitely have to battle against them when you get into practice and fitness testing and all those kind of things. And the preseason game was a big eye-opener, just what level that my strength and my speed and all those kind of things need to get to, to take that next level into the NHL.
Before thinking too much about the pro leagues and whatever else the future may hold, however, Barteaux has his sights set first and foremost on using his leadership to set his younger teammates up for future success.
“I want to be a really good leader for these young guys. If I have individual success, hopefully it brings some more team success, and I’m in the right place to be doing it. My coaches have been instrumental for me and my development.
“I’m just looking to be my best self and bring my best every night for the team.”
North American Juniors
On Monday afternoon Hockey Canada announced its camp invitee roster for the upcoming World Juniors, and to no surprise, Stars prospects Ty Dellandrea and Thomas Harley were both invited. Both players have suited up internationally for Canada in the past.
There’s no guarantee that either individual ends up cracking the roster, but Dellandrea’s odds are pretty high given his age, his two-way game, and the fact that he plays center. Harley, as an 18-year-old, will be facing a lot of competition for a limited number of blue line spots, but on talent alone he’s going to make it a tough decision for the Hockey Canada brass.
After finally snapping their colossal losing streak, the Texas Stars had a little spring in their step last week. They took some steps toward further turning their season around, winning two games against the Iowa Wild before falling in overtime to the Milwaukee Admirals in a game where they held an edge in shots.
It was a real rout on Tuesday against Iowa, as Texas peppered the Wild for seven goals in a 7-3 decision. Their newly formed top line of Rhett Gardner, Nick Caamano and Jason Robertson led the way with three goals (two by Caamano, one by Gardner), while Joel L’Esperance and Joel Kiviranta had two of the others.
“I think we just stuck to the process, you know, even in those losses,” Gardner said after the game, as reported by 100 Degree Hockey. “[We’re] finally getting a few to go now and I think it’s because we’re playing the right way, playing good defensively and capitalizing on our opportunities.
“Obviously makes the game a lot easier if you’re not chasing or squeezing the stick. [You’re] thinking about going down one and then you start thinking about the losing streak. So it’s nice to get out to a lead and I thought we played really well with the lead.”
Saturday’s win against the Wild was a little tighter, as the group had to weather a 17-4 shot disadvantage in the third period, but they nevertheless hung on for a 4-3 win. Kiviranta and L’Esperance both scored again, while Robertson had one of the others.
Texas came close to extending their win streak to four games on Sunday after a goal in the third period by Adam Mascherin and assisted by Gardner and Caamano, but ultimately dropped an overtime loss.
Landon Bow started all three matches to mixed results, making some big stops while giving up a few goals that he likely should have had.
After writing about Frolunda forward Jacob Peterson in this space last week, the speedy Swede had a big game on Thursday, potting a goal and an assist to keep his recent string of strong play going.
Farjestad center Oskar Back had a primary assist in his team’s game-opening goal on Saturday after some nice work in front of the enemy net, the same place where he does most of his best work. Like Dellandrea and Harley, expect Back to be heading to a World Junior camp in the coming week or so.
For a full database of the organization’s prospects and their stats, check out the Stars’ “In the System” page on Elite Prospects.