Although nothing compares to the wild 4th of July many in the Stars' Hockey-sphere encountered, yesterday was quite busy, for a free agency-stagnant, summer offseason day. Below are a few pieces of news worth noting.
Valeri Nichushkin locked in for three years
As stated before, Nichushkin may be NHL ready come October. Yesteday he signed his 3-year entry level deal which reportedly could carry a cap hit of up to $2.3 million if all bonuses are earned (contract details haven't been confirmed). He has expressed his own desire to play on the big club as early as fall and many think he is capable of doing so. Watching him at development camp, he did look bored. That's not to say when he was putting on the jets, it was apparent he was on another level compared to other prospects on the ice. Signing this quickly should erase many doubts about his commitment to the Stars and his departure from the KHL.
Joe McDonnell and Mark Leach hired
Surprised? These two bring over two decades of combined experience from Detroit. Jim Nill set out to inquire about bringing them on board as their contracts had expired with the Red Wings. They were given the option to depart if they wanted to. They did, and they will be here filling voids left by Shane Churla (who went to Montreal) and former Director of amateur Scouting Tim Bernhardt (fired by Niewendyk in 2011). Detroit has had an immense amount of success scouting, drafting, signing, and developing players within their system and to pull guys like this into Dallas is testament to Nill's long term commitment to success here with the Stars.
Development Camp Notes
- Like I said earlier, Nichushkin did look lackluster at times, but that did not negate the fact that he was clearly the best player out there. Wouldn't worry too much until he is on the ice with the big club. Also, you may know this, but for a 6'4 guy, he can move, and has a pretty sick backhand.
- I was very excited to see Radek Faksa this year, but the jury's still out on last years first round pick. It seems like his injury may have set him back and he appeared to be struggling a bit on some of the skating agility drills and was a bit behind in other drills. I saw him for one session only so I may have caught a bad time. Tony will bring more insight as he will be attending a session of camp this week. Troublesome from what I caught glimpse of though.
- Philippe Desrosiers (second round pick this year) will fill the void of puck-handling fiends since the departure of Marty Turco. He was also quick, athletic, and appeared to be very sharp between the pipes. Will be a little while before we see him make the jump, but someone to pay attention to as this crop of prospects matures.
- I liked Troy Vance (Defense) a lot. He's 6'5 and skated quite well for someone his size. He also has and outstanding shot. What impressed me the most was the way he played his angles one on one, giving forwards little to no space. He was aggressive and beamed confidence, something that is very important for a young defenseman. He played two on one's well but his aggressiveness could burn him there in a game situation, especially against some of the elite puck handlers in the NHL. All in all, I wouldn't be shocked if Vance pops out of the woodwork in the next several years. Here's a little clip, number 2 in white.
- Please note I caught one day of camp, so none of these observations are going to be 100% accurate, just a little bit of what I saw and thought.
The Lone Star State of Hockey Show
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