On our Monday edition of Dallas Stars News & Rumors, a special opening to development camp, a new face on the Stars staff, Jamie Benn’s expectations in 2021-22, and top prospect Thomas Harley’s approach to making the NHL roster this season.
Saturday Development Camp Session Opens With 9/11 Tribute
Stars development camp got underway on Friday as top prospects traveled from all parts of the world, some coming to North America for the first time. On Day 2, the players circled around at center ice while all coaches lined the benches for a special tribute for the 20 year anniversary of the attacks on America. In a touching moment, players tapped their sticks 20 times on the ice as coaches held up commemorative signs remembering all of those lost on September 11, 2001.
Stars Hire Al Montoya as Director of Community Outreach
On Thursday, the Stars’ public relations announced the hiring of former NHL goaltender Al Montoya. Montoya will serve as the Director of Community Outreach, a new position formed to further spread the reach of hockey to fans of different cultures. Montoya was the first native Spanish speaker to play in the NHL, appearing in 168 games across multiple clubs. This is just another step in what has become a theme of spreading the love of the sport by the organization.
“We are thrilled to welcome Al and his family to the Dallas Stars,” said Stars CEO Brad Alberts. “He will be an invaluable resource that will help us connect with underrepresented groups in our sport. The life experiences that he brings to this role can’t be understated. We are looking forward to seeing how his leadership will positively impact the Dallas/Fort Worth community and Stars fans across the world.”Stars CEO Brad Alberts
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Jamie Benn: “We Have That Feeling”
In a recent interview with Senior Stars Writer Mike Heika, Stars captain Jamie Benn shared his expectations for this season. When asked if he knew how good this team could be this year, he responded:
“Yeah, for sure. Earlier in my career, the goal was probably to make the playoffs and see what we could do. You know, just build step by step. But now, expectations are raised, and we definitely know as players that we have a group that can win right now. We have that feeling.”Stars Captain Jamie Benn
Dallas has multiple key players as well as their head coach in the final year of their contracts this season. With many players returning from injury and some key offseason additions, it may be the best chance for them to make a run at a championship.
Top Prospect Thomas Harley Heading Into Preseason With Confidence
It has been an interesting ride for the 20-year-old defensive prospect. He remained until the final cuts of his first NHL training camp in 2019, excelled in the Ontario Hockey League that season, then was forced to play in the American Hockey League due to COVID shutting down the OHL last season. All of that has led to a confident young defenseman who is eager for his chance at the highest level.
“Jim (Nill) and the GM group are going to make the decisions they feel are best going to help the team,” Harley said. “I’m not an idiot. I look at the depth chart and I know where I stand and who I’m going to have to beat out. It’s a simple concept for me. I’ve got to go into camp and try to take someone’s job. That’s not the nicest thing, but it’s the nature of the business.”Thomas Harley (from Stars’ Thomas Harley knows what it will take to make the roster: ‘I want that next challenge’, The Athletic, September 9, 2021.)
With the current depth on the Stars’ blueline, Harley will need to prove that he deserves a roster spot over players such as Andrej Sekera, Joel Hanley, and Jani Hakanpaa in order to crack the lineup. It is vital that he plays important minutes at this time in his career, meaning Dallas will not keep him around to be a healthy scratch who’s watching from the press box.
Development camp has been completed, the 2021 prospect tournament will take place this week, and training camp is only 10 days away. Put on your seatbelts, because the 2021-22 season is rapidly approaching.
Sam Nestler is a Dallas Stars contributor for the ‘The Hockey Writers’. Growing up in New Jersey, Sam has been playing hockey since he was 7 years old. Developing a love for writing in college, Sam uses his hockey knowledge to create analyses and articles on every aspect of the game. Sam also hosts his own podcast on Spotify, the “Slapshot Sammy’ podcast, breaking down action across the NHL and NCAA. Check out the podcast here, and give his latest article a read!