Tag: Jamie Oleksiak

Dallas Stars v New Jersey Devils

Stars make contract offer to Eaves, Oleksiak and McKenzie

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On the same day the club announced it would be parting ways with veteran center Shawn Horcroff, Dallas Stars GM Jim Nill said he has extended contract offers to Patrick Eaves, Jamie Oleksiak and Curtis McKenzie.

Eaves, who is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, scored 14 goals and 27 points in 47 games during the 2014-15 season. His one-year, $650,000 contract is set to expire.

The 31-year-old had his season shortened by multiple injuries.

“We need to hear from their camp. We’d like to have him back,” Nill said of negotiations with Eaves. “We made him a contract offer and if he doesn’t accept that he’ll be looking at free agency. We’d like to bring him back, so we’ll see where that goes.”

Oleksiak will become a restricted free agent as his three-year, $4.2 million entry-level deal expires on July 1. The 22-year-old split the 2014-15 season between the AHL and NHL. He appeared in 36 games for Dallas scoring a goal and seven assists. The defenseman also dressed in 35 games with Texas scoring four goals and 12 assists.

McKenzie also split the 2014-15 season between the AHL and NHL. The 24-year-old appeared in 36 games with Dallas scoring four goals and an assist to go a long with 48 penalty minutes. The forward registered six goals and 21 points in 31 AHL games with Texas. His two-year, $1.4 million entry-level deal expires next month.

“We’ve talked to both, made contract offers and it’s just negotiations,” Nill said of Oleksiak and McKenzie. “It’s pretty straight forward. We’ll make qualifying offers and go from there.”

Goaltender Jhonas Enroth, who was acquired by the Stars from the Sabres in February, will go to free agency. The 26-year-old appeared in 13 games for the Stars following the trade going 5-5-0 with a 2.38 G.A.A. and a .906 save percentage.

Enroth was in the second year of a $2.5 million deal and will become an unrestricted free agent.

“I’ve talked to Enroth and told him we are going to look at the market,” Nill said. “He
wanted to look at the market. We are going to keep in touch.”

Dallas will also part was with forward Scott Glennie. Originally a first-round pick of the Stars (eighth overall) in 2009, Glennie appeared in just one NHL game during parts of five seasons with the organization.

Nill said defenseman Cameron Gaunce, who is a Group 6 unrestricted free agent, will also test the market.

“When you’re a kid and this is your first chance to be free, you want to see what is out there,” Nill said of Gaunce. “His goal is to make the NHL and he looks at our depth chart and he sees that we have 11 or 12 defensemen that have a chance to play in the NHL. He’s going to look around. We’d like to have him back, but for him it’s a chance to see if there is opportunity somewhere else.”

Nill said the club would not be offering restricted free agent Ludwig Karlsson a qualifying offer. The Stars acquired Karlsson from the Ottawa Senators in the Jason Spezza deal.

PHT interviews Jim Nill, who’s ‘not surprised’ by Stars’ early-season struggles

Jim Nill

The Dallas Stars won their third game in four tries Tuesday in Vancouver, shutting out the Canucks, 2-0, on the strength of a 27-save performance by goalie Kari Lehtonen.

There remains, however, a big gap for the Stars (12-13-5) to close in order to get back into a playoff spot — a surprise to the many pundits who were predicting big things from Dallas in 2014-15.

Just don’t count the team’s general manager, Jim Nill, among the shocked.

“Not surprised,” Nill told PHT Tuesday morning. “We had a great finish last year, found our identity, made a couple of trades. And the media hype, the player hype, everybody’s like, ‘Here we go.’ Well, it doesn’t happen that easy. Sometimes it’s one step forward and two steps back.”

Despite the victory over the Canucks, the Stars’ puck-management issues were apparent throughout the game. Only Lehtonen could keep a number of glaring turnovers from costing his team.

That was rookie Jyrki Jokipakka with the giveaway to Jannik Hansen. Jokipakka, 23, is one of two rookies on the Dallas blue line, the other being 22-year-old John Klingberg.

While Nill remains optimistic about the future of his largely inexperienced defense, he concedes the Stars might have to take their lumps in the present.

In November, Dallas traded veteran Sergei Gonchar to Montreal, opening up a roster spot for a young d-man.

“I kind of chuckle,” said Nill, “because when you’re struggling with the older guys, they’re like, ‘Let’s get the younger guys in and see what they can do.’ Now you get the younger guys in and they’re like, ‘Oh, we didn’t know there’d be this many mistakes.’ That’s the growth curve. Those things are going to happen.”

When Nill was hired in April of 2013, plucked from Detroit where he’d been with the Red Wings organization for nearly two decades, he knew he first needed to address the center position. In the short time since then, he’s added Tyler Seguin and Jason Spezza, in major trades. Both players are under contract through 2018-19.

Knowing the difficulty of adding a star defenseman in a trade, Nill is hopeful that what the Stars already have in the organization — including prospects Julius Honka, Jamie Oleksiak, Patrik Nemeth, and Ludwig Bystrom — will be the answer for the blue line.

“We’ve got four or five good young kids, a couple more over in Europe that are coming over,” he said. “Now, are they going to be that No. 1 or No. 2 guy? I don’t know. We’ll see how they evolve. … If they are those type of players, great. If not, we’re going to be like everybody else and try and add that No. 1 or No. 2 guy. Not easy to do.”

In the meantime, it’s a matter of sticking to the plan.

“We’re a bad business in that patience isn’t a word we hear a lot,” he said. “We all start out with it, but then we lose it kind of quick. You can’t rush young players. Some guys develop quick. Tyler Seguin’s 23; now he’s one of the leading scorers in the league. That’s quick.”

Others take longer. Like 22-year-old goalie Jack Campbell, the 11th overall pick in the 2010 draft, currently with the AHL’s Texas Stars.

“Jack’s developing well,” said Nill. “He’s still a young kid. Because he was a first-round pick, everybody’s like, ‘Jeez, why isn’t he up here? Goaltenders take a long time to develop. He’s a young kid. He’s going through the highs and lows. He’s on the right path and we’re not going to rush him.”

All that said, Nill isn’t ready to write off the season. He may preach patience for the good of the future, but he expects better results in the now.

“I don’t think we’re as good a team as everybody had us, but we’re not as bad as where we are,” he said. “We still…we’re going to make the playoffs. That’s our goal. We need to go on a run here.”

Dallas getting greener on D, but Ruff says issues are on him

Lindy Ruff

At some point this season, Dallas’ blueline should slip Lindy Ruff a thank-you note.

The beleaguered unit — which, according to this morning’s skate, will see 23-year-old Finnish rookie Jyrki Jokipakka make his NHL debut tonight against the Devils — currently sits 22nd in the NHL in goals allowed per game (3.17), yet Ruff continues to insist the defense’s issues are on him…not the players comprising it.

From the Dallas Morning-News:

With the team giving up the 25th most shots per game in the NHL at 34.3, it’s Ruff stepping up and taking responsibility.

“That’s on me,” Ruff said after his team blew a two-goal lead Saturday in a 6-5 OT loss to Philadelphia. “I have to find a way to fix that.”

After a 6-3 win over Vancouver, in which the Stars led 5-0, Ruff said, “I’m going to focus on the good and try to clean up the bad parts. That’s my job.”

And, preparing for Friday’s game against the Devils, he said, “These are teaching experiences, and we need to take advantage of that.”

Ruff is probably trying to shield his blueline, and rightfully so. Brenden Dillon missed all of the preseason and is still trying to get up to speed. Sergei Gonchar opened the year on IR and hasn’t played yet, while promising Swedish rearguard Patrik Nemeth was lost for the season to an arm laceration.

As a result, Dallas has been left with a defense that’s light on big-league experience. Tonight’s group will be led by two veteran presences in Trevor Daley and Alex Goligoski, but it gets thin from there; the Stars’ second pairing of Dillon and Jordie Benn have less than 250 games of combined NHL experience while the third unit of Jokipakka and Jamie Oleksiak is as raw as it gets (Jokipakka is, as mentioned, making his NHL debut; Oleksiak will play the 26th game of his career tonight.)

Ruff knows part of his job is to teach the youngsters, and he had some success with that last season when Dallas “figured it out” halfway through the season, and rallied to capture a playoff berth.

Thing is, Ruff wants the learning process to be sped up this year.

“I don’t want to be waiting half a season, I can tell you that right now,” Ruff said. “We’ve got work to do.”