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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."

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STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - ANA 78 49 22 7 227 216 105
2 x - NSH 78 47 22 9 224 193 103
3 STL 76 46 23 7 229 190 99
4 CHI 76 46 24 6 217 176 98
5 MIN 76 44 25 7 219 186 95
6 VAN 77 45 27 5 224 208 95
7 CGY 77 42 28 7 229 204 91
8 WPG 77 39 26 12 217 204 90
9 LAK 76 37 25 14 201 192 88
10 DAL 77 37 30 10 239 248 84
11 SJS 76 37 30 9 212 215 83
12 COL 76 35 29 12 206 213 82
13 EDM 76 23 40 13 185 255 59
14 ARI 77 23 46 8 161 256 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Benn 77 28 46 -6 74
T. Seguin 67 35 35 -4 70
J. Spezza 77 17 42 -3 59
J. Klingberg 60 11 27 3 38
C. Eakin 73 17 19 -5 36
T. Daley 63 16 20 -10 36
A. Goligoski 77 4 31 -2 35
A. Hemsky 71 11 21 -5 32
S. Horcoff 73 11 17 7 28
V. Fiddler 75 12 15 -5 27
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
K. Lehtonen 34 16 10 .906 2.88
J. Enroth 1 5 0 .877 3.16
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