“I have a two-year contract (with Dallas), and this is my first year, so I wanted to show my best side and kind of build up a reputation for the future,” Janmark said. “You don’t know how many chances you will get, maybe after this two years you don’t get another contract. You want to make the most out of it. I couldn’t really think about making the team, but you always want to play your hardest and your best.”
Well, Monday afternoon – a little less than a month after he came over – Janmark got the news that he had earned himself a spot on the Stars’ opening night roster, and he’s likely to be in the lineup when the Stars begin regular season play Thursday against Pittsburgh.
“At that specific point you are happy, and a few months ago you would be shocked,” Janmark said. “The last month has been part of a process. Every week you felt closer and closer, and you are trying so hard to make the team, you don’t think about how big it is. If you asked me a month ago, I would be more shocked than yesterday. It was a big day, but I don’t think it has sunk in yet. I am sure it will.”
Monday was busy as well. After he texted his family with the news, the congratulatory phone calls started coming.
“It was fun,” Janmark said. “But I really hope to perform on Thursday when I get the chance. Just try to stay up here for the rest of the year.”
Janmark, acquired from Detroit last season in the Erik Cole deal, had a strong showing in Traverse City, leading Dallas prospects with six points (two goals, four assists) in four games. He continued to shine in training camp and the preseason, playing in six of the Stars’ seven exhibition games and scoring two goals.
“Obviously, it’s important for him to play well for us,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “As camp went on he kept getting better and better. He was noticed with the puck; he was noticed with his skating and skating is important to our club. That was part of the reason he was able to create the opportunities he did, and he drew some penalties with his speed.”
The 22-year-old Swede is versatile enough to play up or down in the lineup. Ruff said he is still trying to sort out where Janmark will start the season.
“He’s a natural centerman, so we may start him off in his position. That’s where he feels most comfortable. But we’ll leave that for Thursday night,” Ruff said.
Now that he is officially on the roster, Janmark will get a new number. He had been wearing 58, but now he will switch to 13, a number he wore during his junior days when he changed teams during one season.
“We won the championship that year,” he said, “so it could be a good number.”
Notes: Goligoski named alternate captain
*The Stars named defenseman Alex Goligoski alternate captain for the 2015-16 season. Vernon Fiddler is the other alternate captain and Jamie Benn, of course, is captain.
“It’s an honor from the coaching staff, management and the guys in the room. I don’t take it lightly,” Goligoski said. “Obviously, there is no shortage of leaders in this room, the guys coming in and even with the young guys there are a lot of natural leaders in here. It’s an honor and I look forward to wearing it.”
“He’s a great person off the ice. He’s a good leader on the ice and off the ice,” coach Lindy Ruff said of Goligoski. “He’s one of our best competitors. It’s a heck of an accomplishment, and he’ll represent our team really well.”
*Forwards Jamie Benn and Ales Hemsky and defenseman Jason Demers were all back on the ice for Tuesday’s practice after missing Monday’s practice. Demers has a muscle strain. Benn and Hemsky, both coming off hip surgery in the offseason, were sore following Saturday’s game in Chicago.
“They’re better,” Ruff said. “One thing that is evident is that these guys are going to have to fight through some pain, fight through some soreness day after games and days after practice. It’s all part of the process. With Benn and Hemsky, it is just trying to get them to that level where some of that isn’t there from day to day.”
Line juggling/Practice lineup
The Stars had a little different look to their forward lines in Tuesday’s practice. Among the moves, Cody Eakin skating on a line with Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin, and Patrick Sharp playing on a line with Jason Spezza and Valeri Nichushkin.
“There’s a couple things I am looking at, some of it is matchups for Thursday night (against Pittsburgh),” coach Lindy Ruff said. “Some of it is where players played and how they played at the end of last year. Some of it is distributing some of our grit amongst the lines. I want to see that because it might be important. A couple days in practice to see how that looks will be a good thing for us.”
Here’s how the Stars lined up in practice:
Jamie Benn – Cody Eakin – Tyler Seguin
Valeri Nichushkin – Jason Spezza – Patrick Sharp
Travis Moen – Vernon Fiddler – Patrick Eaves
Antoine Roussel – Mattias Janmark – Ales Hemsky/Colton Sceviour
Alex Goligoski – John Klingberg
Johnny Oduya – Jason Demers
Jyrki Jokipakka – Jordie Benn
Patrik Nemeth – Jamie Oleksiak
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.