Last season was a rough one for Dallas Stars goaltending prospect Tyler Beskorowany, but he’s looking to take the positives from the experience and move forward.
“I didn’t have the outcome that I wanted, but I still took a lot out of last year,” Beskorowany said. “Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom to really develop as a player and a goalie. I really feel I developed and taken a lot out of the last season.”
The Stars are hoping Beskorowany can take the experience and bounce back this season, which will be a big one in his career.
“It’s a really big point. It’s a really big point for him to show that he can take that next step,” said Dallas Stars goaltending coach Mike Valley. “We fully expect that he can. I believe in him. But he needs to show everybody he has the ability to take the next step that he needs to take right now.”
Beskorowany, who will be in the final year of his entry level contract, has the tools to be a quality goaltender. He’s big (6-5, 205 pounds), can cover a lot of net and is quick. But those tools didn’t come together last season.
And not much came together for his team – the Texas Stars – which finished last in the American Hockey League’s Western Conference and 29th out of 30 teams in the entire league.
Beskorowany’s numbers were a reflection of the team’s woes: 10-19-1 record, 3.39 goals against average and a .886 save percentage.
“It was a weird season,” he said. “We had a new coaching staff and a lot of new faces last season. Maybe we didn’t jell or buy into the system as much as we could have. And that was all around, from the goaltenders out.”
Despite Texas’ struggles, there was still a big opportunity for Beskorowany. When Richard Bachman was called up to Dallas in late November, Beskorowany had a chance to seize the No. 1 goaltender’s spot, but was unable to grab the reins. He won five of his first nine starts after Bachman headed north, but after that he went 4-11-0 with a 3.99 goals against average and .875 save percentage. And once Jack Campbell joined Texas after wrapping up his junior career in late March, Beskorowany played just 40 minutes.
“Personally, I don’t know,” Beskorowany said. “It was just a weird season all around.”
There’s nothing the second round pick (59th overall) in 2008 can do about last season now. It’s in the books. What the Stars want to see is how he responds, and they liked what they saw when the 22-year-old Ontario native showed up at the team’s development camp in July.
“We sent him home at the end of the year with a real firm message that you have to prepare, you have to get in shape and you have to get serious about your profession,” said Les Jackson, Dallas Stars Director of Player Personnel. “He showed up here lean and trim. I think he’s done his work in the offseason.”
“I know he went home with the attitude of digging in his heels and working hard. He hired a personal trainer and he put himself in great shape,” Valley said. “Now, it’s a matter of coming in and battling. As you can see, we’ve got a battle going on.”
With the addition of Christopher Nihlstorp, signed as a free agent out of Sweden, Dallas has five goaltenders under contract for this season – Kari Lehtonen, Bachman, Campbell, Nihlstorp and Beskorowany. There are two spots open with Dallas and two with Texas.
“I feel like I am battling for that spot in Dallas,” said Beskorowany. “They just acquired Nihlstorp and they have Bachs up there. There’s a lot of competition with Campbell there as well. It’s interesting.”
Jackson said Beskorowany will have his hands full with the competition and could end up playing with the Idaho Steelheads, the Stars’ affiliate in the ECHL.
“Somebody has to be in the ECHL and, after last year, quite likely (Beskorowany) is going to have to go back there,” said Jackson. “He’ll need to show us that he is going to be the best player at his position at that level, and then challenge the following year for Texas.”
This season will be Beskorowany’s third as a pro. His first one, which was the 2010-11 season, was stellar. He posted a shutout in his first pro start with Idaho, and registered a 2.35 goals against average and .928 save percentage in 20 ECHL games. He played well in Texas that season as well, getting into 18 games and putting up a 2.58 goals against average and .921 save percentage.
He wasn’t able to build on that performance last season, but 2012-13 will be a chance to get back on track and Beskorowany hopes to make the most of it.
“It’s a big opportunity for me right now this season. It’s the last year on my contract. I’ve got a lot to prove and haven’t shown it yet,” Beskorowany said. “I may have slipped on an opportunity last year when Bachs got called up, and I definitely don’t want to lose another opportunity.”