TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Ty Dellandrea showed the spectrum of his game Friday.
The 19-year-old forward made a slick assist on a Nicholas Porco goal in the first period, was an important penalty killer in the middle of the game, and then took the final faceoff as the Minnesota Wild prospects were trying to get the tying goal with an extra skater.
All of that contributed to a 2-1 win for the Stars in the opening game of the 2019 NHL Prospect Tournament at Centre ICE Arena. Dellandrea was an important part of an important win, but Stars assistant general manager Scott White said it shouldn't be unexpected.
"Ty Dellandrea was Ty Dellandrea," White said. "That's what you get from him every night."
It's one of the reasons Dellandrea could become a rare player for the Stars as a 19-year-old in the NHL. The 13th overall pick in the 2018 draft is in an interesting place. Because of an agreement between the NHL and OHL, Dellandrea can't play in the AHL this season. The rule helps the OHL keep its best players, but it forces NHL teams to make difficult decisions.
If Dellandrea plays 10 games, he will burn the first year of his three-year rookie contract. If the Stars do that, they will likely keep the talented forward in the NHL all season. However, they have the option of playing Dellandrea nine games in the NHL and can then send him back to the OHL for the remainder of the season.
That makes these next few weeks and months pretty important for Dellandrea. Still, he has a patient and mature attitude.
"The way I'm taking it is day by day and trying to stay around for as long as I can," he said.
White said he understands the fact that fans want to discuss the subject, but said Dellandrea has the best point of view. There are so many things that could happen in the coming weeks that you can't get ahead of yourself.
"His play will dictate where he plays, and that goes for any player," White said. "We'll see where he is in the next three weeks or so, and then we'll move on from there."
Video: Stars officially ink Dellandrea to entry-level deal
Dellandrea got off to a good start at the tournament, and he said he was helped by experience. He played in Traverse City last fall, and then was called up to play for the Texas Stars in the spring after his OHL team's season was over. He said he felt prepared facing older players Friday.
"Last year was a big shock," Dellandrea said. "This is a fast tournament with big guys, and everybody is all over the place, so I definitely felt more comfortable (this year). I worked on my strength a lot over the summer and just being able to keep up with those guys, it comes with experience from last year."
Dellandrea said he definitely has worked on his penalty killing and wants to be a solid all-around player. He said getting that kind of experience helps feed his confidence even more.
Rich Peverley, who is one of the Stars' player development coordinators, said Dellandrea is showing he can play in the NHL.
"He's a hard-nosed player who doesn't mind mixing it up. He's a great two-way player who we can rely on in a lot of situations," Peverley said. "He just can help you in a lot of ways."
And by playing well in Game 1, Dellandrea can now concentrate on playing well in Game 2 Saturday against the New York Rangers (6 p.m. CDT). Then, he can move on to his next day.
"It's important for him to have a good tournament here," Peverley said. "Guys who start well here usually carry that into the main camp and then into the preseason. I like the way he looked, I think he can keep moving forward and then we'll see. He's got a chance."
That said, there's no rush.
Dellandrea can go back to the OHL and possibly play for Flint or possibly be traded to a team that might have a better chance at the playoffs. He also could return to the OHL and play at the World Juniors. There are a lot of ways this could work out, so that's why there's no reason to fret.
"There's really no pressure. Both options are good options," Peverley said. "At the end of the day, he probably wants to be in the NHL, but you've got to do what's best for him long-term. If he looks like he's ready, then great. If not, he'll go back and play a lot of minutes there."
Nicholas Porco and Rhett Gardener scored goals for the Stars and Jake Oettinger stopped 20 of 21 shots in a 2-1 win over Minnesota Friday. ... Dallas had 37 shots on goal. ... The Stars will play the Rangers Saturday. New York lost to Columbus, 6-2, in Friday's game.
Game 2: Dallas Stars (1-0) vs. New York Rangers (0-1)
Saturday, 6 p.m. CT
Where: Centre ICE Arena, Traverse City, Mich.
Live stream: FOX Sports GO and DallasStars.com
Photos by Dave Reginek, Detroit Red Wings
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.