Dallas demotes “Big Rig” Oleksiak to AHL

The Dallas Stars have assigned defenseman Jamie Oleksiak to Texas of the American Hockey League.

Oleksiak, 20, was Dallas’ first-round pick (14th overall) at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft and was called up to the Stars at the end of January, appearing in five games while recording one assist and averaging 15:40 time on ice.

Upon making his NHL debut, Oleksiak became one of just seven active players standing 6-foot-7 or taller (Oleksiak is 6’7, 242 pounds) and also became the tallest player in Dallas franchise history.

Nicknamed the “Big Rig,” Oleksiak will now return to a Texas team he flourished with prior to his call-up. He led all Stars defensemen in scoring with 23 points and represented the team at the 2013 AHL All-Star Game.

In related news, Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News speculates that Oleksiak’s demotion could pave the way for defenseman Jordie Benn to join the Stars.

Benn, the younger brother of Jamie Benn, has played in eight games for the Stars this year. Dallas also plays in Vancouver on Friday and the Benns are natives of the provincial capital — Victoria — so the timing of the recall would make sense.

Weaver announces retirement after 633 NHL games

Montreal Canadiens v Tampa Bay Lightning
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Mike Weaver has retired. The 37-year-old defenseman made the announcement today via the NHLPA.

“What an enjoyable experience to do something you love for 11 years in the NHL and 15 years in professional hockey,” said Weaver in a release. “I could never have imagined this. Hockey is more than just a game to me. Thanks to the Atlanta Thrashers, Los Angeles Kings, Vancouver Canucks, St. Louis Blues, Florida Panthers and the Montreal Canadiens.

“I would also like to thank the fans who brought the energy and excitement every night to the arenas. When the game starts, your teammates are who you trust, rely on and respect the most. Thank you to all my teammates for all the memories that will last a lifetime.”

Undrafted out of Michigan State, Weaver ended up playing 633 games in the NHL, plus 28 more in the playoffs.

Larkin will start season with Red Wings

Dylan Larkin
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Dylan Larkin — despite being just 19 years old — will begin the season on the Detroit Red Wings, a team not normally accustomed to having teenagers in the lineup.

Coach Jeff Blashill confirmed the news this morning. Larkin could apparently start on a line with Henrik Zetterberg and Justin Abdelkader.

Larkin, the 15th overall pick in the 2014 draft, had three goals and one assist in five preseason games. A natural center, he’s shown the potential to one day step into the kind of “big-time” role that Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk have played for so long in Detroit.

“You have to give our scouts credit,” former coach Mike Babcock told ESPN in May. “We got a great pick where we picked. How high end is he? How soon?”

Related: Coaching change ‘one of the reasons’ Larkin signed with Wings