When the Dallas Stars recently announced that they would purchase the AHL Texas Stars, it handed Dallas GM Jim Nill more direct control over the development of the franchise’s prospects.
That’s an area he is very familiar with thanks to his 19 seasons of experience as a member of the Detroit Red Wings organization before he joined the Stars. During the vast majority of his tenure, Nill was an assistant general manager and helped oversee the franchise’s prospects. So while he’s only been with Dallas for a little over a year, it wouldn’t be surprising if it becomes apparent over the seasons to come that Nill favors letting prospects develop as much as possible in the AHL before transitioning to the top level.
He’s already shown that he’s not above allowing players to make the jump straight to the NHL from the draft. After all, Valeri Nichushkin made the NHL squad after being selected with the 10th overall pick in 2013, but he was also something of a unique case given that he had a bit of experience in the KHL.
In the end, Nichushkin is likely to prove to be the exception rather than the rule. It helps matters that the Texas Stars have a winning culture that will aide in the development and eventual graduation of some of the players in their system.
Texas won the Calder Trophy last season, finished in first place in their conference in back-to-back campaigns, and has been to the finals twice in the last five years.
“Winning is contagious,” Nill told the Dallas Morning News in June. “We talk all the time about building a winning culture, and this is a big part of that.”
So the foundation is in place for Nill to develop a slow-and-steady pipeline of talent to the Dallas Stars that should keep the team competitive for years to come and given his past experience, there’s a good chance that he will be able to pull it off.
But the chance for at least a single point slipped at the worst possible time, as Jonathan Toews scored with 1:18 left in regulation and then set up an empty net goal from Marian Hossa just a few seconds later to secure the 4-2 win.
The Canucks remain stuck at five wins — just five wins — on the road. They have the 29th-ranked road record in the entire NHL. Only the Arizona Coyotes have been worse away from home ice. So, that’s a problem that needs to be fixed down the stretch.
Vancouver had a chance to move into a wild card spot. Instead, they let the Blackhawks regain momentum as the period went on, and as a result, they remain on the outside of the Western Conference playoff picture for right now.
Corey Crawford earned his 200th career win, making 26 saves. That’s a milestone night for him. For Toews, that’s his most productive night of the season, as he factored into all four Chicago goals, which, of course, included the winner.
So overtime against the New York Islanders seemed like a perfect time for captain Claude Giroux to bust his scoring slump.
Without a goal in his last 12 games, or since Dec. 21 before the holiday break, Giroux finished the Flyers comeback with an overtime goal to give Philly a 3-2 victory on Sunday. Jakub Voracek did great work along the boards to force a turnover from John Tavares, and Shayne Gostisbehere followed up his chance with a quick pass to a wide-open Giroux at the top of the crease.
That comeback win — Philly trailed by two goals early in the second period — bumps the Flyers back into a wild card spot.
Steve Mason had a big game in net for Philly, with 36 saves, while the Flyers fired 47 shots on goal toward Thomas Greiss, although it’s a difficult task trying to re-set and stop Giroux — an accomplished scorer in the NHL — on the doorstep.
Goals, goals and more goals! Blue Jackets outlast Senators for overtime win
Plenty of goals. A little three-on-three overtime. Seemed like an enjoyable afternoon of hockey between the Ottawa Senators and Columbus Blue Jackets.
Well, maybe the goalies, Mike Condon and Joonas Korpisalo, didn’t enjoy it as much.
The Blue Jackets prevailed for a 7-6 overtime win, with Cam Atkinson scoring just 1:09 into the extra period. That’s his 23rd goal of the season. Only two players — Jeff Carter (24) and Sidney Crosby (28) — have scored more goals than Atkinson this season.
With the win, and the Capitals sitting idle today, the Blue Jackets move back into a tie with Washington at 68 points in the fight for first place in the Metropolitan Division.
There were some anxious moments for Columbus.
Rookie defenseman Zach Werenski was hurt blocking a shot in the third period. He briefly left the game, unable to put any pressure on his right leg as he was helped off.
The good news: He only missed a few minutes, returning late in regulation and for the overtime as well, which is important for the Blue Jackets.
#CBJ Zach Werenski said on @FOXSportsOH post-game he "thought it was broken" and "long term" injury when he blocked the shot.
“He’s made a couple of huge mistakes in a game and he comes to the bench, shakes it off and then goes out and makes a great play. For a 19-year-old playing that position and the amount of time he’s getting in key situations with this organization, it’s pretty impressive.”