On the Radar: Examining the Texas Stars
The Dallas Stars top minor league affiliate, the Texas Stars, are currently tied 1-1 in the American Hockey League’s Calder Cup Finals. This is the Stars second trip to the AHL Championship Series in five years of existence, and they are three wins away from their first title in club history. After splitting the opening two games in Cedar Park, the series shifts to St. John’s for the middle three contests, beginning Wednesday night. So far this postseason, 27 different players have appeared in the Stars lineup. Over the next two installments of ‘On the Radar,’ we’ll review those players, examining how they were acquired and their current ties with the Dallas organization.
We begin by looking at the 17 Texas Stars forwards who have played in this year’s postseason. They are listed below, in order of their current point totals in the playoffs.
Travis Morin, C – Was originally drafted by Washington in 2004, and joined the Stars organization in 2009, where he has remained since. The 30 year-old is currently on a two-way contract with Dallas/Texas through the 2014-2015 season. He currently leads the AHL postseason in scoring with 18 points (6g, 12a), after also leading the regular season scoring race with 88 points (32g, 56a), en route to winning the MVP Award. He played four games with Dallas this season – three in November and one in March – and nabbed one assist. He made his NHL debut in 2011, suiting up in three games for Dallas.
Mike Hedden, LW – An undrafted forward, Hedden is currently signed to a one-way AHL deal. He was signed by the Texas Stars in 2011 after a collegiate career at Nuemann College, and has played for Texas ever since. The 29 year-old is currently second on the team in postseason points, and third in the AHL.
Dustin Jeffrey, C– Was claimed by Dallas off of waivers from the Pittsburgh Penguins in November and split the remainder of the season between the NHL and AHL. He played 24 games for Dallas and 21 for Texas. The 26 year-old had 3 points (2g, 1a) with Dallas, and has played in 124 career NHL games. He will be a restricted free-agent this summer.
Brendan Ranford, LW – A rookie forward, who turned 22 in May, Ranford has had a solid playoff run, leading the Stars with 8 goals. Originally a 7th round pick of Philadelphia in 2010, he signed with the Texas Stars last summer and is currently on a one-way AHL deal.
Chris Mueller, C –Was signed by Dallas last summer, as Jim Nill was stockpiling centers in July. He made Dallas’ opening night roster, and played in nine games this season for the NHL Stars. He spent 60 games with Texas, and was nearly a point-a-game player in the AHL. At 28 years old, he will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason.
Justin Dowling, C – Originally signed in 2012 by the Stars ECHL Affiliate, Idaho Steelheads, this undrafted forward continued to impress and climb through the organization. He earned an AHL call-up, followed by an AHL contract, and in March was signed by Dallas to a two-year, two-way, entry-level deal. Currently 23 years-old, that contract takes him through the 2015-2016 season. He joins Morin as the only Stars with a point-per-game average in these playoffs, with 11 points (4g, 7a) in 11 postseason games.
Scott Glennie, RW – Was selected by Dallas with the 8th overall pick in the 2009 NHL draft, in the midst of a brilliant WHL career, but has yet to produce similar numbers at the pro level. He’s played in one NHL game, and has 79 points in 157 AHL games over the last three seasons for the Stars. He has 10 points (6g, 4a) in 17 games this postseason. The 23 year-old will be a RFA this summer.
Curtis McKenzie, LW – Was selected by Dallas in the 6th round (#159 overall) in the 2009 Draft. He had a breakout rookie season this year, notching 65 points (27g, 38a) in 75 games, getting named to the All-AHL Rookie Team. At 6’ 2”, 210 lbs., the 23 year-old brings size and a scoring punch. He currently has one more year on his entry-level contract with the Stars.
Brett Ritchie, RW – Selected by Dallas in the 2nd round (#44 overall) of the 2011 Draft. He had a solid rookie campaign this year with 48 points (22g, 26a) in 68 games. Ritchie adds more size up front at 6’3”, 220 lbs. His entry-level contract has the soon-to-be 21-year old inked with Dallas through the 2015-2016 season.
Kevin Henderson, LW – An undrafted forward, the 27 year-old Henderson is under contract with the Nashville Predators through the 2014-2015 season. He was assigned to Texas late this year, and played in 15 regular season games for the club. He’s added 6 points (g, 5a) in 18 games during the playoff run.
Matej Stransky, RW – Taken by Dallas in the 6th round (#165 overall) of the 2011 Draft. He had 23 points (9g, 14a) in 65 games as a rookie this season. He has added 5 points (g, 4a) in 18 playoff games. He turns 21 in July, and is on an entry-level contract with Dallas through 2015-2016.
Radek Faksa, C – A highly-touted prospect, Faksa was taken by Dallas with the 13th overall pick in the 2012 Draft. He is 6’ 3”, 210 lbs. and only 19 years-old. He joined Texas after the OHL playoffs this season, and had 3 points (g, 2a) in 6 regular season games. He has also tallied 4 goals in 18 postseason games. His three-year, entry-level contract with Dallas is set to begin next season.
Taylor Peters, C – An undrafted rookie, Peters played in 70 games for Texas this season, contributing 16 points (7g, 9a). He has seen sporadic time in the playoffs, appearing in 7 games with a goal and an assist. He signed an entry-level deal with Dallas in March of 2013 that has him under contract through the 2015-2016 season.
Toby Petersen, C – At 35 years-old, the veteran forward has been with the Stars organization for the majority of the last decade. He played in 243 NHL games for Dallas from 2007-2013, but has only appeared in 33 regular season and 7 postseason games for Texas this season. He will be a UFA this summer.
Brandon Troock, RW – A Dallas 5th round pick (#134 overall) in the 2012 Draft, Troock has played in one regular season game and one postseason game for Texas. He joined the AHL Stars late this year, following a breakout WHL season. The 20 year-old was a point-a-game player for Seattle, and is on an entry-level contract with Dallas through 2016-2017.
Taylor Vause, C – An undrafted forward, Vause parlayed a 2012 ATO with the Texas Stars into two more years with the organization. This season he split his time between the AHL and ECHL Stars affiliates. He had 9 points (3g, 6a) in 24 games for Texas, and 14 points (10g, 4a) in 21 games for Idaho. The 22 year-old has played in 2 postseason games for Texas.
Derek Hulak, LW – The undrafted Hulak was signed to a PTO by Texas in March after completing his collegiate career. The 24-year old played in the WHL prior to college. He has appeared in 5 regular season games and 3 postseason games since joining the Stars.
Check back next week for a continued breakdown of the Texas Stars defensemen and goaltenders.
Josh Bogorad is the Pre-Game, Post-Game, and Intermission host for the Stars radio broadcasts. He can be heard 30 minutes before face-off and immediately after games all season long on SportsRadio 1310AM and 96.7FM The Ticket. Follow him on Twitter at @JoshBogorad.