Curtis McKenzie

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.

Stars recall Curtis McKenzie and Jyrki Jokipakka


The Dallas stars recalled forward Curtis McKenzie and defenseman Jyrki Jokipakka from the American Hockey League’s Texas Stars the club announced Saturday.

In a corresponding move, forward Brett Ritchie was placed on injured reserve retroactive to Dec. 15.

According to Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News, Jokipakka could be an option on the blue line tonight when the Stars play host to the Washington Capitals.

Trevor Daley is out due to an undisclosed injury so either Jokipakka or David Schlemko will draw in says Heika.

Up front, Ales Hemsky is available to the Stars meaning McKenzie could be a healthy scratch.

McKenzie, 23, has appeared in 14 games with Dallas this season registering a goal and 19 penalty minutes. In 16 AHL games, McKenzie has four goals and 13 points. He was the Stars’ sixth-round selection (159th overall) in 2009.

Jokipakka has three assists in 16 games with Dallas this season. The 23-year-old has also appeared in 15 AHL games where he has three goals and four points with Texas. Jokipakka was Dallas’ seventh round pick (195th overall) at the 2011 NHL Draft.

The Stars and Caps meet tonight for the first of two meetings this season.

AHL scoring sensation Morin will get opportunity with Stars


Can Travis Morin finally make an impression in the NHL?

In case you’ve never heard of Morin — and don’t worry if you haven’t; you won’t be alone — the 30-year-old forward has been a scoring sensation the past few seasons in the AHL with the Texas Stars. Yet for some reason he’s never been able to make the full-time leap to the show.

Yesterday, he was called up to Dallas, with whom he’s played just seven games since 2010-11, managing only one assist.

From the Dallas Morning News:

Morin has typically been used as a fourth liner in his call-ups, and [coach Lindy] Ruff said he would like to give him a bigger role in this call-up.

“I’ve got to put him in a position where he can try to have success. Play him 12 or 13 minutes, put him on the second power play,” Ruff said. “The only chance they really have of succeeding is if they get minutes to get something done. If you bring a highly skilled guy up and he plays six minutes on your fourth line, there’s not really much chance to make an impression. I want to look at what he can do, especially on special teams for us.”

In practice, Morin was skating between former Texas teammate Curtis McKenzie and veteran winger Erik Cole.


We wrote about Morin in August and have been looking forward to seeing what he can do, should an opportunity present itself.

The Stars host the Devils Saturday.

Top 5 AHL scorers

1. Charles Hudon, Hamilton, 27 points (9G, 18A)
2. Teemu Pulkkinen, Grand Rapids, 26 points (11G, 15A)
3. Jason Williams, Oklahoma City, 26 points (9G, 17A)
4. Chris Bourque Hartford, 24 points (11 G, 13A)
5. Travis Morin, Texas, 24 points (10 G, 14A)

Related: Garbutt’s undisciplined play has ‘got to stop,’ says Nill

Stars lose Eaves (broken bone) for weeks, if not months

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From Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News:

Eaves suffered the injury (possibly to his right ankle) during Tuesday’s loss in Toronto. The National Post’s Michael Traikos saw it, and heard it:

Eaves has three goals and five assists in 19 games. The 30-year-old winger has been placed on injured reserve, while the Stars have recalled forward Curtis McKenzie from AHL Texas to take his spot on the roster.

Related: Stars recall Rynnas from AHL, put Lindback on waivers

More D change in Dallas as Jordie Benn looks to be out (Updated)


We’ve written quite a bit lately about Dallas’ woeful defense lately — allowing 3.47 goals per game, second-most in the NHL — and the numerous attempts to try and fix it.

Tonight, they could try something new.

Jordie Benn appears primed to be a healthy scratch versus the Coyotes, based on this morning’s skate, which would be the first time this season he’s been held out of the lineup.

The older brother of Stars captain Jamie Benn, Jordie has struggled throughout this season and has been especially poor over the last three games, posting a minus-5 rating while watching his ice time diminish — he played just 15:23 in Tuesday’s 6-4 home loss to Carolina, his lowest total of the season.

In Benn’s place, it looks like recently-recalled Jyrki Jokipakka will get into the lineup for just the fourth time this season:

This change comes on the heels of a pair of blueline-related moves: Sergei Gonchar being traded to Montreal in exchange for forward Travis Moen, and Kevin Connauton being lost on waivers to Columbus.

Update: Looks as though Benn will indeed sit tonight…