The Texas Stars are less than an hour away from puck drop in their season opener at the Cedar Park Center. The night will begin with a banner raising ceremony to commemorate the now defunct South Division title. With the Houston Aeros moving to Iowa, the Stars were part of the re-alignment that occurred after last season and were moved back to the West Division. Willie Desjardins looks to find success with the team in his second year as head coach, hoping to capture the momentum that lead them to sit in first place most of last year.
The biggest difference from last year is that the abundance of locked out NHL players no longer exists. But make no mistake, there is a lot of young talent eager to begin their professional hockey journey and earn their own NHL roster spot. The team lost fan favorite Luke Gazdic this week after he was picked up on waivers by the Edmonton Oilers. Fear not, there are plenty of big bodies to fill his shoes, including Brett Ritchie, Curtis McKenzie and Jamie Oleksiak to name a few.
Earlier this week the Texas Stars announced their opening night roster, you can read the press release here:
CEDAR PARK, Texas – The Texas Stars, proud American Hockey League affiliate of the Dallas Stars, announced today the team’s opening night roster for the 2013-14 season, the Stars’ fifth anniversary campaign in Cedar Park. Texas’ opening night roster consists of 24 players, including two goaltenders, eight defensemen and 14 forwards. Those players are: Goaltenders (2): Jack Campbell, Cristopher Nilstorp. Defensemen (8): Ryan Button, Maxime Fortunus, Cameron Gaunce, Jyrki Jokipakka, Hubert Labrie, Patrick Nemeth, Jamie Oleksiak, William Wrenn. Forwards (14): Justin Dowling, Mike Hedden, Curtis McKenzie, Brock Montgomery, Travis Morin, Taylor Peters, Toby Petersen, Brendan Ranford, Brett Ritchie, Colton Sceviour, Austin Smith, Matej Stransky, Taylor Vause, Francis Wathier. In addition to the 18 players under NHL contracts with Dallas, the Stars have four players on AHL contracts: Justin Dowling, Mike Hedden, Maxime Fortunus and Brock Montgomery, and three players on professional tryout contracts (PTOs): Brendan Ranford, Taylor Vause and William Wrenn.
I will not be in attendance tonight, follow @TexasStars on Twitter for any game updates.