Dallas Stars Prospect Update: Predicting The Future Of The Team’s Pending RFAs
Elsewhere: Jason Robertson extends incredible point streak, Jake Oettinger picks up another shutout.
Last week in the space of this column I wrote about goaltender Philippe Desrosiers, a restricted free agent at the end of this season who has been coming on strong lately for the Texas Stars as he tries to make a case for himself to earn a new contract.
Today I’m going to continue on a similar route, taking a look at the other prospects in the Dallas Stars system who are pending RFAs in need of new deals.
With all NHL teams having a limit of 50 contracts at any given time, tough decisions often need to be made about older prospects and how organizations view their potential and fit. The Stars hold the rights to all of their RFAs, but can choose to not tender new contracts to the prospects and let them become free agents if the team so desires.
Including Desrosiers, the Stars have a total of six prospects who are pending RFAs. Here are those other five guys, and a brief prediction of what their future holds with the Stars.
Gavin Bayreuther — Defense
Bayreuther made his NHL debut earlier this season and wound up sticking around for 19 games with Dallas, looking right at home. With Roman Polak, Ben Lovejoy, Taylor Fedun, and Marc Methot all set to become unrestricted free agents and Stephen Johns’ health issues still a concern, Bayreuther could be up with Dallas full-time next season.
Prediction: Will be re-signed
Landon Bow — Goaltender
Despite still fighting issues with consistency, Bow currently remains the No. 3 goalie in the organization. It seems unlikely that the Stars would roll with a young, inexperienced duo of Jake Oettinger and Colton Point between the Texas Stars pipes next season, so Bow will probably be retained to create more options in net.
Prediction: Will be re-signed
What a save by Landon Bow on Filip Zadina's shootout attempt pic.twitter.com/fgIVekmQx8— Kyle M. (@KyleWIIM) February 23, 2019
Niklas Hansson — Defense
After bouncing around a bit on the roster, Hansson eventually found a consistent defense partner in Dillon Heatherington. His development never proceeded as expected, but being a right shot works in his favor. Whether he gets another contract likely depends on where fellow RHD prospects Joe Cecconi and Jakob Stenqvist play next season.
Prediction: 50/50 chance of re-signing
Dillon Heatherington — Defense
Heatherington has been an AHL/NHL tweener for the Stars for the past two seasons. At 23 years of age and with four years of professional experience under his belt, he seems like a perfect candidate to fit that role next year. Unless the Stars have soured on how he fits in, there’s not really much of a reason to not extend him.
Prediction: Will be re-signed
Chris Martenet — Defense
Something of a forgotten man within the Stars system, Martenet was loaned to the ECHL’s Brampton Beast at the start of this season and has been there ever since, which is not a good sign for how the organization views his potential. With a handful of better prospects needing entry-level contracts in short time, Martenet will get bumped out.
Prediction: Won’t be re-signed
North American Juniors
University of North Dakota power center Rhett Gardner picked up two assists in two games over the weekend, one of which came from a fantastic individual effort while killing a penalty.
🚨 SHAW-TY! 🚨— UND Insider (@undinsider) February 23, 2019
🚨 Shaw (SHG, 3rd)
🍎 Gardner, Senden#UNDproud @UNDmhockey @TheNCHC pic.twitter.com/pUI68NCjGn
Cecconi scored this third goal of the season for the University of Michigan, showing off some of the vision that has helped him develop into a power play contributor over the past two years.
#NTDP Alumni Update. Quinn Hughes with another PP point as Michigan pulls within one of the Buckeyes on the goal from Joe Cecconi.— Stars n’ Stripes Hockey (@StarsStripesHKY) February 24, 2019
Give the primary assist to another former NTDP player, Nick Pastujov. #Canucks #GoStars #Isles pic.twitter.com/0tjF4G2CXr
Oettinger recorded his third shutout of the campaign on Friday, stopping all 29 shots that he faced, before also turning aside 19 of 20 shots on Saturday, both games coming against the University of Vermont.
Jason Robertson’s incredible point streak just keeps going, reaching 18 games on Sunday. The talented winger had seven assists in three contests, including these two beauties against the Peterborough Petes:
An @ivan_lodnia injection for ✌️@mnwild prospect returns to action for his first game since Dec 15 delivering 2️⃣🚨 performance in @OHLIceDogs win. pic.twitter.com/1AiHPwgJfD— OntarioHockeyLeague (@OHLHockey) February 24, 2019
Speaking of assists, forward Riley Damiani had three in three games for the Kitchener Rangers. Just how good is his playmaking ability? He’s now up to 47 helpers in 49 games this year.
Rangers put on a passing clinic on the PP, and Jonathan Yantsis taps home his 41st of the year! 🚨 @OHLRangers #OHL #RTown pic.twitter.com/t20f7QljYC— caitlin berry (@caitlinsports) February 24, 2019
It was a busy week for the Texas Stars, but one that did not go according to plan for the team. They started their week off with a 2-1 overtime win over the Iowa Wild, before then falling 3-1 to the Chicago Wolves on Thursday, 4-3 in the shootout to the Grand Rapids Griffins on Friday, and then 4-2 to those same Wolves on Sunday.
Desrosiers recorded the lone win between the pipes, but it took 39 saves in 40 shots to do so. Bow was pulled early in Sunday’s contest.
Joel L’Esperance returned to the Texas lineup just in time for Sunday’s match where he immediately scored two goals, keeping him in a tie for the AHL’s lead in goals with 29.
Beyond L’Esperance, there weren’t any particularly notable performances for any of the skater prospects in those four games, but Hansson and Denis Gurianov each had a goal and an assist, while Ben Gleason had three helpers.