Winkler, a center who played four years at Colorado College, was found unresponsive by his mother at his parents' home in Norway on Wednesday.
"The Dallas Stars are heartbroken to hear about Scott's passing," general manager Jim Nill said. "Scott was a wonderful young man with great character and a bright future; we extend our deepest condolences to his family and friends."
Winkler scored 24 goals and totaled 63 points in four seasons playing with the Tigers. He was a third-round pick of the Stars in the 2008 NHL Draft.
"The first thing you feel is shock and secondly you hope it isn't true," Colorado College athletic director Ken Ralph told The Gazette (Colorado Springs). "Scott had been working very hard and done a great job preparing himself for professional camps this summer."
Life's about opportunity and how you respond to that opportunity, and obviously he must have some swagger about him, some confidence about him, because he was solid. He made some good saves. He was 6-foot-3 on every shot, which is a good thing for a goalie. He played well. We got a win.
— Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock on rookie goaltender Garret Sparks, who made 24 saves in his first NHL start, a 3-0 win vs. Oilers
TONIGHT ON NHL NETWORK
5:00 ET: NHL Live Powered by Constellation 7:00 ET: NHL Tonight