“If they play well, they will get their chances.” Dallas Stars fans have been hearing that about their talented prospects for years. But as the NHL reckons with a flat salary cap, the Stars’ youth movement could have both momentum and circumstances on its side.
Give the Stars credit where it’s due: Their cap-management skills have been second to none. It’s not as if they won’t have the option of making yet more veteran signings for next season. But with their core trending younger (hello, Jason Robertson and Jake Oettinger) and a big handful of talented players making their own moves in the AHL, the next training camp should be an interesting bellwether for the organization as a whole.
Say, for instance, the Stars needed extra help scoring goals – just for the sake of argument. Newly minted AHL All-Stars Riley Damiani and Adam Mascherin are really good at that:
Damiani is at the top of the list of prospects to watch for next season. Selected in the fifth round (137th overall) in 2018, the skilled center has put together three consistent scoring campaigns. Damiani had a breakout year with Kitchener in the OHL in 2018-19 with 85 points (30 goals, 55 assists) in 58 games. He followed that with 78 points (28 goals, 50 assists) for Kitchener in 2019-20. Then, he led all Texas Stars scorers with 36 points (11 goals, 25 assists) in 36 games during the shortened 2020-21 season and was named to AHL All-Rookie Team on May 25....
Mascherin is more of a pure goal-scorer, but the Stars could definitely use some of that at the NHL level. Mascherin had 18 goals among 34 points in 37 games last season after missing much of the 2019-20 season due to shoulder surgery.
Meanwhile, the closely watched Thomas Harley made the best out of the OHL’s COVID-19 shutdown by advancing to the AHL early:
“For Thomas to have the opportunity to play in the American Hockey League, I think, was huge for his development,” [Stars GM Jim] Nill said. “He’s another guy who took advantage of the situation brought about by the pandemic, and I think it was really the best thing for him.”
There’s more at Mike’s place. [Dallas Stars]
Todd Nelson’s name is back in circulation for not one, but two available bench-boss positions.
Hearing DAL assistant Todd Nelson will interview for openings in Arizona and Columbus.— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) May 26, 2021
Around The Leagues
Stanley Cup Roundup
- Nick Suzuki was the overtime hero as the Montreal Canadiens kept hope alive with a 4-3 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. [Eyes On The Prize]
- And the Carolina Hurricanes punched their ticket to Round 2 with their own 4-3 OT victory against the Nashville Predators. [Canes Country]
Can the Leafs win enough games to get their captain back? John Tavares is skating again, so watch this space.
John Tavares was back on the ice today one week after suffering a scary concussion and knee injury— Hockey Night in Canada (@hockeynight) May 27, 2021
Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said injury progress has been good on both fronts https://t.co/ekQIR2tUuz
The Avalanche have not played since May 23 and are trying to use their time wisely while they wait to host either the Golden Knights or Wild in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Second Round on Sunday. https://t.co/Dr8C52mUQM— NHL.com (@NHLdotcom) May 27, 2021
The Edmonton Oilers got swept in Round 1, and it all came down to one missed play by Ethan Bear? (We never said racists were smart.) Bear stood up for himself...
"I'm here to stand up to this behaviour... I'm proud of where I come from. I'm proud to be from Ochapowace First Nation. I'm not just doing this for myself. I'm doing this for all people of colour & for the next generation."— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) May 26, 2021
Ethan Bear's statement in response to racist comments. pic.twitter.com/3CK6DENnHC
...and the rest of the NHL is standing up for him, too. Here’s an example.
Ethan Bear is an upstanding role model and proud Indigenous hockey player who deserves to be treated with respect. There is no place in the game, or anywhere off the ice, for racism or hatred. The NHLPA stands with Ethan and his family. pic.twitter.com/M0FaLRVPBF— NHLPA (@NHLPA) May 26, 2021
And it’s not even officially summer yet. Enjoy your Memorial Day weekend, if you can.