Big Change in Utah
A week ago, the Stars completely vaporized the Grizzlies coaching staff. Head coach Bob Bourne and assistant coach Jason Taylor were both fired, while popular assistant coach Craig Ludwig was promoted to the Dallas Stars organization as an assitant. Now, ex-Calgary Flames coach Don Hay, who is a good friend of Stars coach Ken Hitchcock, is rumored to be one of
the leading candidates to take over the job. Ex-Islanders coach Butch Goring, another member of the Islanders dynasty team,
has also been mentioned as a possibility.
More shockingly, in the wake of these events inthecrease.com is reporting that the Stars are in the midst of dramtically scaling back
their minor league operations. The Stars are expected to share their affliate Utah Grizzlies, who have just moved from the disbanded IHL to the AHL, with the Florida Panthers.
Apparently, the Stars will join forces with Florida in running the team and stocking it with
talent next year, and Dallas is now expected to scale back the number of under-contract minor leaguers — keeping only a handful
signed for next year. The money they will save is reportedly going to be used to help Dallas sign free agents this summer
and increase the salaries of their NHL’ers. This combined with the expected 10% budget increase (around $5 million) and the money
saved on players like Hull (over $7 million), Donato, Maclean, and Ledyard should free up serious budgetary room for Gainey.
Quick Prospect Updates
Popular Brampton Battalion (OHL) captain, forward Jeff Bateman, has been given a 2-year contract by the Dallas Stars.
Bateman attended training camp last season, but returned to the OHL after not making the team. He had another good season
and playoffs (leading the Battalion in points and forward PIM’s) and is expected to try out for the Stars again this year.
Russian Prospects’ Eugene Belaschenko informs us that offensive-defensemen prospect Evgeny Petrochinin is
finally planning on making the trip to American to try out for the Stars this summer. Petrochin is a solid offensive
defensemen in the mold of a Sergei Zubov (though realistically, he will not nearly be as good). So, add him to the list of
great competitors for that 6th spot (Erskine, Macmillan, Jackman, the recently re-signed Helenius, etc.) in training camp
He also explained forward Alexei Tereschenko’s lack of impressive numbers in the SuperLeague (RHL) this season,
after coming off a wonderful season the year before. His RHL team, Dynamo, had their best 4 players shipped away last year
and has struggled immensely as a team this season, but — in his opinion — Alexei has still looked pretty good. He told me
that he thinks Alexei will eventually make the Stars and rebound with a great season next year. It is the belief of several scouts there that adversity has ultimately made him a stronger player.
According to reports, Finnish playmarker Niko Kapanen will remain in Finland and play for TPS next year. According to a recent interview in Finland, he will remain there and won’t attempt to make the Stars.