Stefan Noesen grew up in Plano, the northern suburb of Dallas. In football country, with a hockey team coming to town the same year he was born, Noesen took a career path that was nearly unheard of among kids his age: professional hockey player.
The Dallas Stars invested a lot into the area to gain fans in their new home. The number of ice sheets in the area exploded. The Stars started a ton of learn-to-skate programs after the team relocated to the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Youth hockey leagues grew up much the way that Noesen did — as he got bigger, so did they.
He got into the game thanks to a Canadian grandfather and father that grew up a Chicago Blackhawks fan. The family would go to Stars games all the time when he was little, and watching hockey with his grandfather when they would visit Canada found a young Noesen intrigued by the game. His grandfather would take him out and show him hockey things. The Noesen’s put Stefan into the junior Stars program after he showed an aptitude for skating in the Stars’ learn-to-skate program.
From there, the rest is history.
He spent four years playing for the OHL Plymouth Whalers. Drafted 21st overall by the Ottawa Senators in 2011, Noesen was traded to the Anaheim Ducks in the summer of 2013 when the Senators acquired forward Bobby Ryan. It was the first year Noesen could go pro after Canadian juniors, and he spent most of that year and the next playing for the Ducks’ AHL affiliate Norfolk Admirals.
Then, after just 12 games with the Ducks, Noesen was on the move again. This time, the destination was the New Jersey Devils, who claimed the young forward off of waivers. He was reunited with childhood teammate Blake Coleman, another Dallas native that’s made the NHL. He put up career numbers the following season, potting 13 goals and scoring 27 points in his first full season in the NHL.
He struggled last year thanks to a cyst in his ACL, an injury that built up over time. He had arthroscopic surgery to fix it. However, his lack of production last year (3 G, 5 A in 41 games) combined with new youth infusions for the Devils led to a parting of ways for the player and the organization.
Now on a professional tryout with the Stars, Noesen couldn’t help but be excited about playing in a game for the team he grew up with, even if it is a preseason game. “Maybe putting on the initial uniform is going to be a little bit more surreal. First shift, you’ll probably see me running around out there if that’s the case. Might run through a wall.”
Whether he ends up making the team for opening night or not, that’s an experience that will stay with him for the rest of his life. “Contract stuff, you have to earn that, and I didn’t last year,” Noesen said. When asked about his chances to earn one with his hometown team, Noesen responded with, “I’m optimistic.”
With the team announcing that Corey Perry will miss training camp and part of the preseason due to a small broken bone in his foot, it’s easy to see where Noesen’s optimism could come from. He’s acquitted himself well in training camp, with head coach Jim Montgomery complimenting Noesen’s adaptability and thirst for knowledge. There’s a chance to be grasped, but the competition will be intense for those last few forward slots on the Dallas Stars
The Preseason Is Live!
The first preseason game of the season is here. The Stars will take on the St. Louis Blues tonight at home, with veteran goaltenders Ben Bishop and Antoin Khudobin expected to split time in net. Montgomery said that the younger goaltenders will be used on the road throughout the preseason, and noted that Bishop and Khudobin didn’t see a ton of preseason time last season — and that seemed to work out pretty okay for the team.
Forwards: Nicholas Caamano, Andrew Cogliano, Blake Comeau, Ty Deallandrea, Radek Faksa, Rhett Gardner, Denis Gurianov, Joel Kiviranta, Joe Pavelski, Stefan Noesen, Jason Robertson, Riley Tufte
Defense: Dawson Barteaux, Emil Djuse, Thomas Harley, John Klingberg, Esa Lindell, Roman Polak
Goaltenders: Ben Bishop, Antoin Khudobin
The Blues will bring the following players to the game tonight. Note these aren’t presented in lines, because preseason is so fluid that the lines don’t really matter. Both teams are going fairly young with their first preseason groupings.
Forwards: Ivan Barbashev, Sammy Blais, Robby Fabbri, Klim Kostin, Mathias Laferriere, Mackenzie MacEachern, Jordan Nolan, Ryan Olsen, Austin Poganski, Oskar Sundqvist, Mike Vecchione, Nathan Walker
Defense: Andreas Borgman, Robert Bortuzzo, Jake Christiansen, Jake Dotchin, Joel Edmunsdon, Derrick Pouliot, Niko Mikkola
Goaltenders: Ville Husso, Adam Wilcox
Location: American Airlines Center (Dallas, TX)
Puck Drop: 7:30 PM CDT
TV/Online: None Known (Dallas will have the Minnesota stream for tomorrow night’s preseason game, so if you’re local, come on down and watch it live — or follow along on our Twitter feed for in-game updates)