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Stars grab third overall pick in NHL Draft Lottery

Pick will be the highest for the Stars since the move to Dallas

by Mark Stepneski @StarsInsideEdge / Inside Edge

The Dallas Stars had a good night at the NHL Draft Lottery in Toronto Saturday, jumping up from the eighth position to the third overall pick in this summer's draft.

The Stars had a 5.8 percent chance of winning the first overall pick in the draft and an 18.3 percent chance of landing a top-three pick in Saturday's lottery, which involved the 14 teams that missed the Stanley Cup playoffs, and the Vegas Golden Knights who will join the league next season via expansion.

Stars player development coordinator Rich Peverley represented the team at Saturday's draft lottery in Toronto where teams were assigned a certain amount of random four number combinations. The Stars, who came into the lottery with the eighth best odds, won the third pick with the number combination of 2,6,8,13.

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Positive signs for Mattias Janmark

Forward signs one-year contract extension, Stars optimistic about his return for next season

by Mark Stepneski @StarsInsideEdge / Inside Edge

The Dallas Stars announced Thursday that forward Mattias Janmark is under contract for next season. Janmark, who was a pending restricted free agent, signed a one-year extension worth $700,000.

Janmark missed all of this season after undergoing surgery to fix a congenital joint issue in his knee. He was a big part of the 2015-16 team, registering 29 points (15 goals, 14 assists) and a plus-12 rating in 73 games as a rookie. And the Stars missed him this season.

"I think on the outside, people don't understand who he is, but he was a big part of our team [in 2015-16]," Stars GM Jim Nill said. "He's a smart player who plays in all situations. He has great speed, and I think we missed his speed. You take out his speed, [Ales] Hemsky's speed and [Patrick] Sharp missed time, those are some pretty fast players. But losing Matty for the year was a major loss to the team."

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Seguin undergoes shoulder surgery

Recovery is four months, expected to be ready for training camp

by Mark Stepneski @StarsInsideEdge / Inside Edge

Stars forward Tyler Seguin played in all 82 games this season, but he played through an injury. Seguin underwent successful surgery Tuesday to repair labral damage in his right shoulder.

"He had a torn labrum in his shoulder," Stars GM Jim Nill said. "And he should be healthy by the time training camp comes around."

Nill said the recovery time for Seguin is four months.

"He's in a sling the next two to four weeks, and then the next month he can slowly get back at the rehab," Nill said. "By the third month, he'll be able to train full steam ahead, and by four months he is fully healthy."

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Prospect Report

Roope Hintz tallies five points in Finnish Elite League bronze medal game, heads to Finland's World Championship camp

by Mark Stepneski @StarsInsideEdge / Inside Edge

Stars forward prospect Roope Hintz (2nd round/2015) ended his season in the Finnish Elite League with a bang, registering five points (one goal, four assists) in the bronze medal game on Friday. But his big night wasn't enough as HIFK fell to JYP, 6-5, in overtime.

HIFK overcame 2-0, 3-2, 4-3 and 5-4 deficits to force overtime with Hintz factoring in on all five of his team's goals. Among his points in the game were a goal in the second period to make it a 3-3 game and an assist on the game-tying goal with 2:29 left in regulation.

Hintz currently leads the Finnish Elite League playoffs in scoring with 14 points (three goals, eleven assists) in 14 games played, but Tappara and KalPa are three games into their best-of-seven championship series so somebody could end up passing him.

As expected, once his season ended, the 20-year-old forward joined Finland's national team this weekend in hopes of making the roster for the upcoming World Championship. Hintz joins Stars defenseman Julius Honka on Finland's preliminary roster for the tournament.

Finland, Sweden, Russia and Czech Republic will play later this week at the Carlson Hockey Games, which is part of the Euro Hockey Tour and a tune-up for next month's World Championship in France and Germany. Stars defenseman John Klingberg is on Sweden's roster for the tournament and forward Valeri Nichushkin, who has been playing for the Russia national team recently, likely will play for Russia.

Hintz stats: HIFK (Liiga) | 44 GP |19 G | 11 A | 30 PTS | +10 | 18 PIM
Playoffs (HIFK): |14 GP | 3 G | 11 A | 14 PTS | +5 | 4 PIM

Photo credit: Riku Laukkanen / IFK Helsinki

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Klingberg, Roussel to play at World Championship

Honka, Hintz and Nichushkin also under consideration to play at tournament in France and Germany

by Mark Stepneski @StarsInsideEdge / Inside Edge

Defenseman John Klingberg and forward Antoine Roussel will play at the 2017 World Championship, which gets underway next month in Paris, France and Cologne, Germany, the Dallas Stars announced on Tuesday.

Three other players in the Dallas system - defenseman Julius Honka and forwards Roope Hintz and Valeri Nichushkin - are under consideration as well.

Roussel, who will play for France, will be making his fifth appearance at the Worlds. The only question surrounding his playing in the tournament was a thumb injury that kept him out the final 18 games of the season for the Stars. But he's healthy now and will get to play in a tournament that will be held in his native France.

"It is important. I grew up not wanting to play in the NHL but wanting to play for Team France. That was doable," Roussel said. "When I started playing hockey in 1992, it was just after the Olympics in Albertville. I think that is why my parents started me playing hockey. Maybe more events like this will bring more French players to the big leagues."

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Texas Stars Report

Season ends for Texas Stars, Idaho Steelheads open playoffs in ECHL

by Mark Stepneski @StarsInsideEdge / Inside Edge

The Texas Stars wrapped up their season, taking two of three games from the San Antonio Rampage last week. The Stars were 34-37-5 on the season, finishing seventh in the AHL's Pacific Division and missing the playoffs for just the second time in the franchise's eight seasons of existence.

The season ended with a 6-3 loss to the Rampage on Saturday. The Stars went 0-3 on the power play and allowed two power-play goals on five shorthanded situations.

"Tonight was kind of a synopsis of our year," Texas coach Derek Laxdal told media after the game. "Power play hasn't been great, penalty killing has been really bad. That was the difference in tonight's game. And we played a lot of kids at different positions. It was a tough one for the guys. They know it is the end of the season. I have to give them an A for the effort."

Injuries in Dallas took a toll on Texas, especially at the forward spot where Texas used 25 different players over the course of the season. But there were ups and downs across the lineup.

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Benn ready to help Stars move forward under Hitchcock

Stars captain will get more responsibility as leader with Hitchcock back in town

by Mark Stepneski @StarsInsideEdge / Inside Edge

Stars coach Ken Hitchcock loves to talk. Stars captain Jamie Benn, well, not as much. Benn has been more of a lead-by-example kind of guy, picking his spots when to exert some vocal leadership. But Hitchcock wants Benn to be more vocal as he enters the fifth year of his captaincy with the Stars.

"He's quiet because he only thinks it is not his place, but now he has found out it is his place," said Hitchcock. "In this generation, dealing with millennials, you can't have leaders that aren't vocal. They have to be vocal. He's understanding. Some of it is things that I have learned that could help him, but he is going to become a vocal, determined leader and I think it is going to help us go in a positive direction."

That's fine with Benn, who said he is ready to grow more and expand his responsibilities as a leader under Hitchcock, who was named the team's head coach last week.

"There are steps I need to take as a leader. I think Hitch is going to help me out in that department," Benn said. "There's going to be a lot more responsibility, and these are steps that I need to make as a captain and as a leader in helping this team win."

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Prospect Report

Hintz, HIFK fall in Finnish League semifinals

by Mark Stepneski @StarsInsideEdge / Inside Edge

Stars forward prospect Roope Hintz (2nd round/2015) and HIFK will play for the bronze medal in Finland's top league. HIFK lost its semifinal playoffs series against Tappara, 4-1.

Hintz did not register any points last week as HIFK fell in Games 4 and 5 of the series. Through the semifinals, Hintz is tied for second in playoff scoring in the league with nine points (two goals, seven assists) in 13 games. He ranks fourth among HIFK forwards in ice time at 17:05 per game and third in shots on goal (36), and he's won 54.5 percent of his faceoffs.

HIFK will play JYP Friday in the bronze medal match. Tappara and KalPa will play in the best-of-seven championship series.

Hintz stats: HIFK (Liiga) | 44 GP |19 G | 11 A | 30 PTS | +10 | 18 PIM
Playoffs (HIFK): |13 GP | 2 G | 7 A | 9 PTS | +3 | 4 PIM

Photo credit: Riku Laukkanen / IFK Helsinki

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Seguin relishing opportunity under Hitchcock

Stars coach wants Seguin to be all-around No. 1 center

by Mark Stepneski @StarsInsideEdge / Inside Edge

When the Dallas Stars traded for Tyler Seguin almost four years ago they saw him as the team's No. 1 center. Well, it hasn't always worked out that way. Seguin has been the top center at times, but not consistently.

This past season, for example, Seguin started out as the No. 1 center for the first 13 games and centered the top line about 67 percent of the time leading up to the All-Star break. But after that, not so much. He played some on the wing and some down the lineup.

Now, incoming head coach Ken Hitchcock wants to change that. Hitchcock sees Seguin as a center and a number one center. And in Hitchcock's eyes that will entail more than just penciling in Seguin's name in that top center slot when putting together line combinations. It will entail a lot more responsibility for Seguin. More than just being a points producer.

"I've got to work hard in the summer to get Tyler to start thinking like a [number one center]," Hitchcock said. "That means he's got to be out there in critical spaces all the time. That means he's got to kill penalties, he's got to play against the other team's top players, he's got to be out there at the start of games, and he's got to be out there at the end of games. He's got to take key faceoffs. He's got to do everything to become a [number one center]. That's what a [number one] does."

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Ken Hitchcock: 'This is like coming home for me'

Hitchcock returns for a second stint as head coach of the Dallas Stars

by Mark Stepneski @StarsInsideEdge / Inside Edge

Dallas Stars GM Jim Nill said he wanted to move quickly on getting a new head coach, and he did. Nill and the Stars made it official Thursday that Ken Hitchcock, the man who led Dallas to the 1999 Stanley Cup, will be behind the Dallas bench once again.

"Ken's resume speaks for itself," Nill said. "Talking with him, I was so thrilled and excited about his passion to get back to coaching. He's recharged, and he wants to make a difference. I know he is the right man for the job."

Hitchcock, who was let go by the St. Louis Blues in February, will take over for Lindy Ruff, who parted ways with the Stars after the team decided not to renew his contract. Hitchcock returns to the team that gave him his first NHL coaching job back in 1996.

"This is an emotional day for me because this is like coming home," Hitchcock said. "This means the world for me."

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