It’s been a career-defining past 15 months for Texas Stars right wing and Dallas Stars prospect Matej Stransky.
In the first game of the 2015-16 season he was a healthy scratch and there were discussions in the organization about sending him to the ECHL.
A season and a half later, Stransky is the Texas Stars’ representative at the AHL All-Star Classic, that starts Sunday night with the Skills Competition in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
Both the skills competition and the All-Star Classic will be broadcast in Texas on Fox Sports Southwest.
“I’m pretty excited about it, obviously it’s something you don’t get to do very often in your career,” Stransky said. “I wasn’t expecting it. When (Texas Stars general manager Scott White) called me I wasn’t sure what it was about at first.”
Stransky was the replacement for defenseman Julius Honka, who is currently on the NHL roster, and the 23-year-old Czech has 30 points (16 goals, 14 assists) in 42 AHL games this season.
It’s a sign that Stransky has finally found consistency in his career. Stransky helped Texas win the Calder Cup in his rookie season, but didn’t have the individual consistency in his first two seasons.
Last season he took the healthy scratch on opening night to heart and responded with a career-high 39 points in 74 games. This season he’s on track to easily surpass those numbers and he’s consistently skated on Texas’ top line.
“I’m more consistent with my game now, I’m getting a lot of ice time and I’m feeling confident with those minutes,” Stransky said. “With the power play and other big situations, I’m really enjoying that chance to show what I can do with more responsibility.”
The biggest knock on Stransky has always been his skating ability, and that seems to have taken another step this season.
“I work on (skating) in the summer and been doing that for three years now, that’s what Dallas really wants to see from me,” Stransky said. “It’s getting better and better, I think I’m a bit faster. But there is still room to improve.”
The AHL All-Star Classic is also a 3-on-3 format, similar to the NHL showcase, and Stransky said he likes the format.
“It’s exciting for the fans, there are lots of chances and it’s fun to play 3-on-3 actually,” Stransky said. “I think it’s a nice way to make it a bit more exciting when all the players aren’t used to playing with each other.”