The Idaho Steelheads clinched a berth in the Kelly Cup Playoffs this week and seem solidly entrenched as the third-seed in the ECHL’s Mountain Division.
That’s the norm in Boise.
Since their inception in 1997, the Steelheads have never missed the playoffs and they’ve won a pair of Kelly Cups. It’s one of the main reasons the Stars continue to affiliate with Idaho — it’s a reliable, winning organization that builds the perfect support system for the Stars.
It’s also an environment that’s helping push Landon Bow’s development.
Now the Stars top goalie prospects after signing an entry-level contract, Bow leads the ECHL with a 2.13 goals against average and is second in the league with a .931 save percentage.
Bow will have a chance win the AHL starting job next fall and I think he’s ready to make that jump. However, at the moment the Stars are hoping Bow’s ECHL career lasts into late June and the goalie continues to play and learn from high-pressure games.
Let’s get started:
Kari seemingly recementing himself. What do you expect if anything to change in the crease (over summer)? How so, and why?
— tC (@tCut95) March 29, 2017
I’m working on a story for this weekend on Kari Lehtonen and the option of bringing him back next season as the back-up behind a younger goalie.
In my opinion, Lehtonen is no longer an NHL starting goalie. However, he could be a viable back-up that plays 20 to 25 games a season.
Ideally I think the Stars buy out Antti Niemi’s contract, while they sign or trade for a younger goalie to start. You then have Lehtonen serve as a one-year stop gap as the back-up and hope a prospect is ready in two years.
is nemeth play moved him up in the pecking order to consider keeping?
Thoughts on Stars d pair next year (no FA signing)
— Justin Schmidt (@JustinSchmidt24) March 30, 2017
If Patrik Nemeth is a member of the Dallas Stars next season the new coach will have to really work to mend a broken relationship between the Swedish defender and the team.
It’s been a frustrating year for Nemeth and all the young defensemen involved. We can blame Lindy Ruff for part of that, we also need to point some blame at Jim Nill for carrying eight defensemen into this season.
I have a gut feeling that Nemeth won’t be back next season.
If there are no free agent signings or trades and if Vegas doesn’t snag a Stars defenseman, which I think is unlikely, this would be my projected defensive pairs for next season.
Esa Lindell — John Klingberg
Jamie Oleksiak — Julius Honka
Dan Hamhuis — Stephen Johns
Greg Pateryn as the seventh.
any idea on who some of the stars defense targets could be this offseason? What players would the stars be OK with giving up?
— Stars (@Stars24_7) March 30, 2017
Are there really untouchables on the Stars defense?
Obviously it would take a fantastic deal to trade John Klingberg, but within this whole organization I think only Jamie Benn has “untouchable” status and would be a non-starter for a trade.
Every other player on the roster, even Tyler Seguin or Klingberg, would be on the table if another general manager called with a deal that was good enough.
It’s hard to get a read on Jim Nill sometimes, and I think he likes it that way. But, the Stars will probably be in on the Karl Alzner sweepstakes in free agency, while they’ll also do some shopping via trade as teams make their decisions on whom to protect in the expansion draft.
so realistically what do you think will happen for the Stars this summer. Expansion, trades, etc. Also who is new coach?
— Steph (@stephanysus) March 30, 2017
The following things could happen in the offseason:
-There will be a trade that will surprise us, likely for a defender or goalie.
-The Stars will lose a defenseman in the expansion draft.
-Ken Hitchcock will be the next coach of the Dallas Stars.
The Hitchcock item is far from a certainty. But I do believe it’s a conversation the Stars are having.
Klingberg + Honka + a top 2.or 3, or 3.5D FA = 3 Pairs
— John Munro (@noomMJJ) March 30, 2017
This looks like a winning formula.
Always hearing good/great things about Roope Hintz, does he have a future in NHL? Possibly AHL this fall?
— DallasSportsFan (@TheCrafty71) March 30, 2017
Roope Hintz is one of the Stars top-10 prospects and I expect him to play in the AHL next season.
He might have been an AHL option for an ATO this season, but his Finnish team is still in the playoffs and the Texas Stars are going to be done in two weeks. I have heard rumblings that Hintz could get an invite to the IIHF World Championships, so that would be an ideal setting to watch the Stars prospect.
And yes, he has a future in the NHL.
Stransky's really making an argument and Dallas is light on right shot wingers. Any chance Nill and Co. are intrigued by him?
— David Castillo (@DavidCastilloAC) March 29, 2017
Matej Stransky has made major strides this season and his skating has gotten much better.
However, his skating ability still hasn’t reached a level where he’ll be a viable full-time NHL option. That could change if he continues to improve over the summer, but I’m not sure how much his skating can actually improve.
On a side note, I would call Stransky up for this weekend on an emergency basis after Curtis McKenzie’s injury. It would allow the Stars to give him a test run in an NHL game, while it would also be a nice reward for the hard work he’s done in the AHL the past two seasons.
with Elie, Dickinson and Honka up from the minors, do you see any other AHL player get a NHL game or two?
— E (@plastigsten) March 30, 2017
I mentioned Stransky a moment ago. You could also see Gemel Smith or Justin Dowling get an NHL game before the end of the season.
Stars had two prospects in the NCAA tournament, how does that compare to the rest of the league?
— Taylor Holt (@tay18rholt) March 29, 2017
That’s somewhat the norm. Every NHL team had at least one prospect reach the NCAA tournament this season, while the Philadelphia Flyers were the extreme outlier with nine prospects in the tournament.
Best remaining AHL Star to look out for? Headed to the games this weekend and want to know which ones to focus on sans Honka.
— General Crozier (@HereBeStars) March 30, 2017
If you’re going to watch the Texas Stars game this weekend, do yourself a favor and pay close attention to Gavin Bayreuther, Denis Gurianov, and Dillon Heatherington.
Those are the three players that have the best chance of playing in the NHL at some point.
I know Tufte got off to a slow start, but how do the Stars view him a year later?
— DallasSportsFan (@TheCrafty71) March 30, 2017
Riley Tufte is still a long-term project, but he’s looking like a first-round pick now and has been a key cog for Minnesota-Duluth during it’s run to the Frozen Four.
I think he’ll spend two more years in college and become a pro after his junior season. That’s just a guess, but that’s the career path I see playing out right now.
Can we #FireLaxdal now please? Are there an coaching prospects out there to replace his worthless butt?
— Erinn Hughes (@atxstarsgirl) March 30, 2017
The contracts are up after this season for the Texas Stars coaching staff, meaning Jim Nill will have to make a decision on Derek Laxdal and Karl Taylor this summer.
On one hand I understand the frustration — Texas was not a very good AHL team this year and this coaching staff hasn’t won a playoff series since Willie Desjardins was the coach.
However, you also have to remember this is not a well-constructed AHL team. Much of the roster was expected to be in the ECHL this season and the goaltending issue isn’t on the head coach, it’s on the lack of a full-time AHL goalie coach.
In addition, the Stars have given Laxdal and Taylor credit for development this season of several young players. For example Denis Gurianov has built a close bond with Laxdal, and Matej Stransky has taken steps to enter the conversation for an NHL call-up.
Recently Gavin Bayreuther picked to sign with the Stars in part because of the positive things he heard about the AHL program in Cedar Park.
It depends on what the Stars want to do, and they won’t be making that choice based on win-loss record.
Do they like how individual development has been working in Cedar Park? If the answer is yes, Laxdal will be back next season. If the answer is no, there will be a new head coach for the Texas Stars.
will janmark resing with dallas ?
— Joshik TROLIK (@JoshikT) March 30, 2017
Yes, he’s a restricted free agent the Stars will re-sign.
who's your playoff team? Or who should we watch? I'm annoyed I have to have a regular season team and playoff team..
— AndrewGifford4 (@AndrewGifford4) March 30, 2017
I grew up a New Jersey Devils fans and I haven’t had a “team” to watch in the playoffs since I was in college.
I hope for close games and seven-game series, whatever leads to the most hockey games and intriguing storylines. It be nice to see Patrick Eaves or Jordie Benn win a Stanley Cup, but I really don’t care which team wins it all in the end.
on a scale of 1 to Sean Avery, how insulted are you regarding the Wild's usage of the replica North Stars jersey next season?
— Jason (@damnitjason) March 29, 2017
For me it’s a one, because I’m not insulted by the Minnesota Wild using Minnesota North Stars jerseys in warmups.
Earlier this season the Winnipeg Jets used fauxbacks that you could technically say belonged to the Arizona Coyotes, so sharing history is common place in the NHL.
However, I think it would be cool if the Stars wore North Stars jerseys warmups at some point next season with it being the 50th year of the franchise.
The Stars do a decent job of honoring their history, the North Stars retired numbers hang at American Airlines Center, but maybe they could do a bit more next season.
On a side note, technically the Stars have a shared history with the California Golden Seals. Perhaps they should wear throwback skates like the Seals used to (pictured below) for one game next season.
the Stars keep doing specialty burgers at home games that are pretty tasty, what toppings go on the Sean Shapiro Sliders?
— Jason (@damnitjason) March 29, 2017
The Recipe for Sean Shapiro Sliders:
1 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 pounds lean ground beef (90% lean)
1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon white vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Miniature whole wheat buns
3 center-cut bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
1. Cut fresh pineapple into small pieces, make sure to save some of the juice.
2. In large bowl, combine 3/4 cup of pineapple, pepper and salt. Crumble beef over mixture and mix well. Shape into patties.
3. In small bowl combine soy sauce, ketchup, vinegar, garlic, pepper flakes and pineapple juice. Pour half of marinade into dish with patties; cover and refrigerate 1 hour, turning once.
4. Drain and discard marinade.
5. Grill patties, covered, over medium heat.
6. Grill buns until toasted. Serve sliders on buns with remaining pineapple and bacon.
what do you recommend fans do with all the time we'll have this summer?
— Mark Harrill (@atxstranger) March 29, 2017
Read lots of books.
At least that’s how I’ll be spending my time when I’m not getting frustrated with the New York Mets’ season.
if you were to bring a weed whacker on an airplane, what would be the reason?
— Ryan Satkowiak (@Ryan_Satkowiak) March 29, 2017
If only there was a podcast where such things were discussed. Oh wait…