The Texas Stars had an undeniably shaky start to the season going 4-13-2 through the first 17 games with a 12 game losing streak through the 23rd November.
Since then, Texas has got some players back from the injury-ridden Dallas Stars and added some depth from last season’s Calder Cup-winning Charlotte Checkers in the form of Anthony Louis which has helped push them to a four-game point streak. They lost in overtime on the 1st of December to league-leading Milwaukee Admirals however for much of the game dominated the offensive zone and were unlucky to be largely stonewalled by a hot goalie.
In an article last month we talked about goalie development in Cedar Park, but some of the young skaters, particularly the forwards seem to be finding their feet in the professional game. Jason Robertson has impressed the last few games with his smooth skating and overall awareness and is currently the Texas Stars leading point scorer. Admittedly 13 points (7 goals) in 21 games is hardly setting the world on fire but he shows promising signs of being a very decent 200ft player and as he continues to develop it will be exciting to see if he gets anywhere close to the game-breaking ability of current Dallas Stars leading scorer, and fellow mid-2nd round pick Roope Hintz.
Nick Caamano is another depth pick by the Stars that seem to be in an excellent spot. His time up in Dallas really seems to have given him the confidence to shoot on the net and his speed and skill are noticeable every time he steps on the ice. If he continues to perform and to score it seems like a permanent NHL spot may come calling sooner rather than later.
Left-wing Riley Tufte seems to have both upsides and downsides at the moment. So far he has an unimpressive 2 points in 21 games, both assists. Frankly, at times his skating seems more beer league than the big league. However, the imposing forward does seem to be finding ways to use his imposing 6’6’’ frame in the more physical environment of the AHL.
It’s hard to see him breaking into the top six of the Stars or any other NHL team at the moment. He seems to be a player more in the mold of Radek Faksa or Valeri Nichushkin at this point in his development which would arguably be a disappointing result for a 1st round pick. Given his size, it’s perhaps not surprising that it’s taking him a bit of time to grow into his game and we can hope if he continues to work on the weaker aspects of his game he’ll become a legitimate prospect.
It’s early days in the resurgence of the Texas Stars and time will tell if they can keep their recent points streak going and offset the terrible first 15 or so games of the season however they look like a completely different team than we saw in October and the first half of November and the youth core are certainly a part of the change.
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