CEDAR PARK, Texas -- Next in line?
The Texas Stars are 9-2 in the Calder Cup playoffs so far. And while they have been led by veterans Brian Flynn, Mike McKenna and Curtis McKenzie, the minor-league affiliate of the Dallas Stars also is helping to prepare a group of prospects for the NHL.
Here, Dallas Stars assistant GM Scott White (who is also GM of the Texas Stars) gives his assessment of some key players:
[RELATED: All that AHL postseason pressure? It could pay big dividends for Dallas prospects in the future]
Jason Dickinson - 11 GP - 2 G, 2 A - 4 pts - +3
"It took him about three games to get vested, so it was great he came down before the regular season was over. … He's been strong throughout. … He's been playing on the shutdown line. He can play the wing, he can play the middle, so he has versatility. But most importantly, he has pace, and you can't teach that." -- White
Denis Gurianov - 11 GP - 2 G, 3 A - 5 pts - +5
"Denis has been pretty good, a little inconsistent, that's what he's most battled. … But the talent is there, the pace is there, he's getting better at playing 200 feet. I think he's going to learn the details which will allow him to take the next step. … He still has a bit to go, in my opinion, but he has all of the tools. … Overall, he's going in the right direction. All in all, he's made good steps and now he has to have a good summer." -- White
Roope Hintz - 11 GP - 2 G, 6A - 8 pts - +5
"Hintz has been dynamite. To me, he's NHL ready. He's dangerous on the ice, he's engaged more physically, he's learned that it's a grind. … It's hard for European players to adapt to the North American schedule. It's such a grind to get to January, and he got through it. Then, the first-round series, he took a couple of huge hits and got right back up and finished a few hits of his own. I think that's maturity. … He's a talented player, and I think he's right there. … I think he's better at center. You can always move him around, but I think he's better at center." -- White
Remi Elie - 11 GP - 2 G, 4 A - 6 pts - Even
"Remi has been good. … He took a bit of time to get going when he came down, but he's in the groove now. … He's an energy guy who has speed. He probably has to get a little better at penalty kill, because that will be his role, but he's on that right path." -- White
Gavin Bayreuther - 11 GP - 1 G, 4A - 5 pts - +3
"He's more comfortable. … He moved the puck a little slow when he got here, and now he's moving it well, buying time when he has to buy time. … He's defending well in all situations. He played a lot down the stretch in the regular season and he's carried it over to the playoffs. … This is great for him to prepare him to make that jump." -- White
Dillon Heatherington - 11 GP - 0 G, 0 A - 0 pts - +1
"He's been good. He's a defensive defenseman, simple with the puck. … Less time with the puck is good for him, so he's moving it quickly. … He's grinding, banging guys around in the playoffs. You need all types of defenseman and he fills an important role for us. … He's a good character guy, good teammate." -- White
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club.
Mike Heika is a Senior Staff Writer for DallasStars.com and has covered the Stars since 1994. Follow him on Twitter @MikeHeika.
Read more: Jason Dickinson, Curtis McKenzie, Roope Hintz, Denis Gurianov, Gavin Bayreuther, Dillon Heatherington, Texas Stars, Dallas Stars