Towering Dallas prospect Oleksiak set to make NHL debut Friday


Sounds like Jamie Oleksiak will make his Dallas Stars and NHL debut on Friday against the Phoenix Coyotes.

Oleksiak, 21, was Dallas’ first-round pick (14th overall) at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft and recently participated in his first-ever AHL All-Star Game.

Following Wednesday’s call-up, he was put on a defensive pairing with Alex Goligoski at practice and should be in the lineup tomorrow, according to Stars Inside Edge.

It’s a big move that should have Stars fans excited — “big” being the operative word.

Oleksiak is listed at 6-foot-7, 242 pounds and has a massive reach, something that benefited him well during his time in the American league.

Here’s more, from Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News:

Nicknamed “The Big Rig,” he jumped up from junior hockey last season to become an AHL All-Star Game participant this year. He has played 43 games for the Texas Stars and has 23 points, including three goals.

Stars general manager Joe Nieuwendyk said he expected the towering defenseman to make his NHL debut Friday against Phoenix, then join the team on a three-game trip through Phoenix, Colorado and Edmonton.

“We’ll see what he can do, and then we’ll assess from there,” Nieuwendyk said.

Oleksiak is also known for his hitting ability and fighting skill, the latter of which turned him into something of a minor YouTube legend:

In other Dallas lineup news, Derek Roy won’t play Friday against Phoenix, though head coach Glen Gulutzan is hopeful he can return in time for Monday’s game against Colorado.

Jason Demers tweets #FreeTorres, gets mocked

Los Angeles Kings v San Jose Sharks - Game One

Following his stunning 41-game suspension, it looks like Raffi Torres has at least one former teammate in his corner.

We haven’t yet seen how the San Jose Sharks or the NHLPA are reacting to the league’s hammer-dropping decision to punish Torres for his Torres-like hit on Jakob Silfverberg, but Jason Demers decided to put in a good word for Torres tonight.

It was a simple message: “#FreeTorres.”

Demers, now of the Dallas Stars, was once with Torres and the Sharks. (In case this post’s main image didn’t make that clear enough already.)

Perhaps this will become “a thing” at some point.

So far, it seems like it’s instead “a thing (that people are making fun of).”

… You get the idea.

The bottom line is that there are some who either a) blindly support Torres because they’re Sharks fans or b) simply think that the punishment was excessive.

The most important statement came from the Department of Player Safety, though.

Bruins list Chara on IR, for now

Zdeno Chara

Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.

It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.

The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.

As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.

Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?

The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.

This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.