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Dallas Stars Prospect Update: You Get A Call-Up, And You Get A Call-Up, And You Get A Call-Up!

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Elsewhere: Texas Stars held winless in tough week, Riley Tufte becomes a dad.

NHL: FEB 08 Stars at Blues

When it comes to calling up forward prospects from the AHL, the Dallas Stars have really spread out the wealth this season.

When Jason Robertson got the call last week that he was heading to Dallas, he became the sixth forward prospect in the organization to dress for the Stars this season.

The biggest, of course, is Denis Gurianov, who made the Stars out of training camp, got sent down to the AHL for a pair of games and then returned — and he hasn’t looked back since, more than cementing his place as a full-time NHL player. He’s a prospect no longer.

Beyond Robertson and Gurianov, Nick Caamano (12 games), Joel Kiviranta (11 games), Rhett Gardner (eight games) and Joel L’Esperance (three games) have all seen time with Dallas this season. Robertson was reassigned to the Texas Stars on Monday, while Kiviranta still remains with the big club.

Now, much of the decision-making behind which prospect gets the call depends on circumstances. Caamano was brought up to the NHL in the absence of Blake Comeau since both players can play a checking, defensive style of hockey, while Robertson’s ability to work on the power play was a necessary addition with Alexander Radulov out of the lineup.

At the same time, however, this sharing of the wealth now could also pay off for the organization in the long run.

Getting a taste of the NHL — experiencing the speed and intensity of the league, seeing first-hand how the pros handle and prepare themselves on a daily basis — can provide a nice boost to a prospect’s development. Even if they get sent back down to the AHL shortly afterwards, they can still take those lessons and apply them in the minors until their next shot.

If some or all of these forward prospects find themselves in NHL together a few years down the road after further development, the temporary chances they got this season will have been an important step along that path.

AHL

It was a pretty tough week for the Texas Stars, dropping two games in regulation and then another in a shootout. Even worse, two of those losses came at the hands of the San Antonio Rampage, who move ahead of the Stars in the AHL playoff race and knock Texas down to seventh in the Central Division.

In their defense, however, the team’s roster has been absolutely gutted as of late. Not only were Robertson and Kiviranta up in Dallas, but Caamano, Adam Mascherin, Landon Bow, Emil Djuse and Anthony Louis all missed games this past week due to injury.

“That’s the big thing about being a part of the developmental league,” head coach Neil Graham said to 100 Degree Hockey following Saturday’s loss. “A couple guys go up or a couple guys go out, guys gotta grab it. It was a night where the effort was there but unfortunately we weren’t able to get anything by the goalie.”

Their first loss came 2-1 at the hands of the league-leading Milwaukee Admirals on Wednesday night. Gavin Bayreuther scored the team’s lone goal and Jake Oettinger kept the team in the game with 29 saves, but the Stars gave up the deciding goal midway through the third period and couldn’t get it back.

They got closer at home on Friday against San Antonio, and managed to eke out a point from the contest, but were ousted 3-2 in the shootout. Bow started the game and stopped 10 of 11 shots before succumbing to injury, and then Oettinger was absolutely heroic in relief, turning aside 36 of 37 shots. Gardner had one of the club’s tallies.

San Antonio continued their season-long dominance against Texas on Saturday with a 2-0 shutout. Oettinger played in his third game of the week and was solid once again, with 24 saves, but he didn’t get a lot of help in front of him.

One bit of good news did come out of the week, though: Riley Tufte welcomed the birth of his first child.

North American Juniors

WHL

Dawson Barteaux had a season-high four-point game (all assists) in an 8-3 Winnipeg Ice win on Wednesday. The Ice are still within striking distance of winning the top spot in the WHL’s East Division.

OHL

Winger Nick Porco returned from a recent suspension and picked up two assists in four games last week, with both of them being being pretty nice plays. He’s No. 74 in the clip below.

Europe

Sweden

Center Fredrik Karlstrom scored himself a nice shootout goal for Vaxjo in the SHL on Saturday. He actually wasn’t even on the ice when the call was drawn, so it was a bit of surprise to call on a player who had previously only scored three goals on the year, but the team’s coach certainly had the right hunch.

Stats

For a full database of the organization’s prospects and their stats, check out the Stars’ “In the System” page on Elite Prospects.