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Stars sign Hobey Baker Winner Lessard

Thursday, 04.15.2004 / 11:00 PM CT / News
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Stars sign Hobey Baker Winner Lessard



April 16, 2004

Suddenly, the Stars' pool of prospective talent just got deeper.

That's because the Stars added the nation's best collegiate hockey player Thursday morning when they signed 2003-04 Hobey Baker Award winner Junior Lessard to a one-year contract.

And remember: The last time the Stars signed a Hobey Baker Award winner, his name was Neal Broten.

"Hopefully, your career with us will go like Neal's," Stars General Manager Doug Armstrong told Lessard Thursday, "and we'll see your number up in our rafters."

OK, so that's not much pressure.

Then again, Lessard has never been one to back down from any challenge.

Somehow, he went undrafted when he was the eligible age, and after failing to be chosen by an NHL team, opted to go the collegiate route at the University of Minnesota-Duluth.

From that point on, he made his top priority proving those who said he couldn't play in the NHL wrong. He's not a strong skater, they said. Maybe not big enough. Whatever reason, he knew better.

"There were many people who counted me out who never thought I was going to make it," Lessard said. "Today I'm proud I showed a lot of people were wrong."

He started doing that in college for UM-D, increasing his point total in each season of college. As a freshman, he put up 12 points (four goals, eight assists), then upped it to 30 his sophomore season (17 goals, 13 assists). By his junior season, he was a full-fledged scoring machine, putting up 37 points (21 goals).

But his senior season is when he truly became a collegiate star. On his way to earning the nation's top individual honor, he also led the country in both goals (31) and points (61) in just 44 games played. He was selected to the American Hockey Association first team, the All-America first team, and was named both the uscho.com and insidecollegehokcey.com National Player of the Year.

His success, however, wasn't just individual. He also led the Bulldogs to their first NCAA Frozen Four appearance since 1985, where they lost in the national semifinal to eventual national champion University of Denver.

Quite the career. So when it was finally over, Armstrong and the Stars decided to make a push for his services.

"If he won the Hobey Baker Award, you know he's got some scoring talent," Armstrong said. "When someone wins that award, he grabs everyone's attention."

In fact, Lessard said he had several offers to sign a free agent contract, but that Dallas seemed to be the perfect fit for him.

Now, hopefully, he'll prove that's the case by putting up the same kind of numbers for the Stars as he did for the Bulldogs.

"It's been an exciting last couple of weeks," Lessard said. "But today has got to be the biggest day of my life."

SCHEDULE

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STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 CHI 58 36 18 4 160 134 76
2 DAL 55 35 15 5 178 147 75
3 STL 56 30 17 9 133 130 69
4 LAK 53 32 18 3 146 124 67
5 SJS 53 28 20 5 154 143 61
6 ANA 53 26 19 8 120 125 60
7 COL 57 28 25 4 153 158 60
8 NSH 54 25 21 8 139 144 58
9 MIN 54 23 21 10 133 134 56
10 VAN 54 22 20 12 125 144 56
11 ARI 53 24 23 6 139 163 54
12 CGY 53 25 25 3 143 156 53
13 WPG 54 24 27 3 139 157 51
14 EDM 56 22 29 5 138 168 49

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Benn 55 28 34 16 62
T. Seguin 55 28 32 11 60
J. Klingberg 55 10 36 14 46
J. Spezza 52 18 22 5 40
P. Sharp 55 16 24 -2 40
A. Goligoski 55 4 20 16 24
C. Eakin 55 10 13 0 23
M. Janmark 55 10 10 14 20
J. Demers 48 7 12 16 19
V. Nichushkin 52 6 13 7 19
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Niemi 20 10 5 .908 2.52
K. Lehtonen 15 5 0 .912 2.79
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