Dallas Stars Assign Curtis McKenzie Back to AHL's Texas Stars

The young forward played two games in his NHL debut stint, and his return to the AHL could signal the imminent return of Valeri Nichushkin to the Stars lineup.

The Dallas Stars made a bit of a surprising roster move today when they re-assigned forward Curtis McKenzie to the AHL's Texas Stars.

I say surprising because the move leaves Dallas with just 12 healthy forwards at the moment if coach Lindy Ruff was right earlier this week when he said Valeri Nichushkin would not be ready to return from his groin/hip injury for another week.

The Stars have a back-to-back with travel starting Friday at home against the Anaheim Ducks and ending Saturday in Minnesota against the rolling Wild. With that travel, you'd think they would want an extra forward available just in case.

However, if Nichushkin is ready slightly sooner than expected, this all makes perfect sense. He would be a likely candidate to get into one of the games this weekend, which would be a welcome return to give the Stars some more top-end depth. We will have a better idea of his availability after this morning's practice.

McKenzie, a sixth-round pick from the 2009 draft, played in two games during his stint in Dallas, making his NHL debut against the Philadelphia Flyers. He had one shot in each of his two games. He will play tonight for the Texas Stars.

Here's the full release from the Stars:

Dallas Stars General Manager Jim Nill announced today that the club has reassigned left wing Curtis McKenzie to the Texas Stars, Dallas' top development affiliate in the American Hockey League.

McKenzie, 23, appeared in two games for Dallas, including his NHL debut on Oct. 18 vs. Philadelphia, and did not record a point. In one game with Texas this season, he registered one goal and four shots on net.

The 6-foot-2, 210-pound native of Golden, British Columbia was selected by Dallas in the sixth round (159th overall) of the 2009 NHL Draft.