DALLAS — Stars defenseman Patrik Nemeth will rejoin the NHL team Saturday after spending a week in the American Hockey League and playing four games with the Texas Stars.
The original plan was for Nemeth to spend 14 days in the AHL and play eight games, but after Jamie Oleksiak sustained a hand injury the Stars want to have a seventh defensemen available for the upcoming road trip.
In four games with Texas Nemeth had a goal and two assists. Time on ice isn’t officially kept in the AHL, but Nemeth was averaging close to 25 minutes per night with Texas.
“He’s played well down there, he’s got a lot of minutes,” Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. “Just like Stephen (Johns), the play overall has been good.”
Watching Nemeth closely on video backs up Ruff’s claim. He played a physical game with Texas and was effective at seperating opposing forwards from the puck.
Nemeth has had a frustrating NHL season. He’s only appeared in 16 games, doesn’t have any points, and is minus-4. After some early opportunities in the lineup, Nemeth has clearly dropped to the bottom of the Stars NHL defensive depth chart.
So what where the Stars looking for during Nemeth’s conditioning stint?
“If they are a good NHL player they should be able to go down there and perform very well,” Ruff said. “Because they’re playing with players, probably on a whole, there’s probably half a team that may never play in the NHL. When you go down we really expect a player to be a good player down there.”
“In a season like we’ve had, there is no practice time. So going down there is practice time,” Ruff added. “It’s a time where you get to go play, usually when you come back. You see a player that feels pretty good about where there game is at.”