After completing his final year of junior hockey in Canada last season, Beskorowany has been preparing for his first foray into pro hockey in 2010-11. A lanky 6-foot-4, 208-pound 20-year-old with a good glove hand, Beskorowany will likely split the coming season between the Stars’ top minor league club, the AHL’s Texas Stars, and their next-level affiliate, the ECHL’s Idaho Steelheads.
Last year at Kingston, Beskorowany recorded a 29-25-4 record while posting a 3.52 goals-against average and a .903 save percentage, and also started in the OHL All-Star Game on home ice. Beskorowany raised his performance in the playoffs, registering a 3.26 GAA and a .912 SP as Kingston lost a heart-breaking seven-game first-round series to Brampton. All in all, it was a very valuable experience.
“Personally, it was good,” Beskorowany said of his final year playing the highest level of junior hockey in North America. “I played a lot of hockey this past year in Kingston. There was a lot of ice time, I faced a lot of rubber this year. It helped my development a lot.”
“He had a great season,” said Stars Director of Scouting and Player Development Les Jackson. “He played on a team where he got a lot of work, so that was a good situation. He’s got some good material, I suspect that he’ll be a good pro.”
Besides the impressive numbers and the playoff experience, Beskorowany spent the season as his club’s undisputed number one netminder, occupying the crease in 62 out of 68 regular season games and all seven post-season contests. He enjoyed the feeling of knowing he would be the one counted on in goal, no matter what, which wasn’t the case his first two years in the OHL with Owen Sound. His trade to Kingston last summer turned out to be very important to his growth as a goaltender.
“In Owen Sound, we had myself and (New York Rangers 2009 fifth-round draft pick) Scott Stajcer and we’re both strong goaltenders and we both knew that we were starters, and it was a good move for both sides,” said Beskorowany, who was chosen in the second round (59th overall) of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, the Stars’ first selection that year. “They got a goal scorer and I ended up in Kingston and I ended up starting there, so I didn’t really have that person looking over my shoulder and worry about, ‘Is he going to come in?’ and ‘Who’s playing tonight?’ and all that stuff, so it was nice. I learned a lot from (former NHL star) Doug Gilmour being my coach and he taught me a lot about the pro mentality of the game as well, just kind of preparing myself for all that, so it was definitely a good move for me.”
After his season in Kingston ended, Beskorowany journeyed to Idaho to spend some time observing the pro hockey lifestyle during that club’s run to the ECHL Finals, giving him a good preview of what he’ll face this year.
“Just to be in the same room as the guys and whatnot, and I’ve been in practice with those guys and trying to face the same shots that they’re shooting and the speed - it is a big step and it’s a big change for me,” Beskorowany said of the differences between junior and pro hockey. “Traveling with Idaho for an entire week and going to Utah during the playoffs, it was good to see what it was all about. Not having someone there to cook for you and you have to clean up after yourself - it’s a little bit of a change coming from junior to the next level. It was good for me and hopefully, it was an eye-opener for next year, for sure.”
While Beskorowany has impressive size and is a very good puck-handler, he still needs to bulk up a bit, and his conditioning has been one area he’s worked on with Stars strength and conditioning coach J.J. McQueen for awhile now.
“We’ve talked throughout the past season, me and J.J.,” revealed Beskorowany, a native of Hanmer, Ontario. “He’s come down to Kingston and seen me, so he’s given me things to work on out there, mostly not weight stuff, not heavy stuff, but light stuff like stretches and just trying to stay in shape and stay flexible during the year. I also have a personal trainer back home, so I worked with him quite a bit and they’ve both worked out a lot. I feel a lot stronger now, I feel a lot better on the ice, too.”
With Stars training camp looming on the horizon in mid-September, Beskorowany spent some valuable time in town in early July, getting a chance to work with McQueen, as well as Dallas goaltending coach Mike Valley, at the club’s Development Camp, which took place at the Dr Pepper Arena in Frisco.
“The experience working with Mike Valley, just getting to see where I am right now and seeing how much more I have to improve over the summer and how much time I have,” Beskorowany said regarding the benefits of his visit to the Metroplex. “Hopefully, it’s not too much, I’m almost there, but there’s always room for improvement and I plan on improving for the next two months.”
Once he does arrive for camp, Beskorowany will be looking to make an impression on Stars management, although he knows that he’ll be heading to the Texas Stars’ camp after a week or so. In Dallas, Kari Lehtonen
has a lock on the number one job, while recently-signed free agent Andrew Raycroft and Brent Krahn, last year’s number one in Texas, will compete for the backup slot. The one who doesn’t claim the spot in Dallas will end up as the AHL squad’s top netminder.
That leaves Beskorowany to battle for the backup spot in Texas with second-year pro Richard Bachman
, although Beskorowany may very well start the year in Idaho regardless of what transpires in camp.
“I think in the ideal world, he’ll play in the East Coast League,” Jackson acknowledged. “That would be ideal, where he’ll get the net every night and that’s better.”
With such a full stable of talented goalies in the organization (and with Campbell playing junior in Canada), the Stars like the idea of fostering head-to-head contests for playing time at each level, as it pushes each one to work that much harder to earn their ice time.
“Competition’s always the best thing internally, and over the years, we’ve always had that,” Jackson noted. “I think we’re in a real good situation - we’ve got three real good young goaltenders, so as Jack Campbell
and Tyler and Richard move ahead, we could be sitting real good for the next six, seven years.”
No matter where he ends up playing in 2010-11, Beskorowany is looking forward to the process and feels confident that he’s in position to have a strong camp and prove to Dallas management that he can do the job.
“I’m one more year wiser coming in and I know a little bit more what to expect,” said Beskorowany, one year after seeing his first NHL pre-season action. “Not many things have changed over the past year. Mike Valley’s still around to help me out, which is good, and it’s just given me that one extra year to kind of develop myself and get better and stronger for this year.”
“Tyler is a very promising player for the future of our organization,” said Stars General Manager Joe Nieuwendyk. “He has worked hard and we expect that to continue as he plays in our development system.”
Even if he does sometimes get overlooked a bit.