Stars prospect Chris Martenet advances to Memorial Cup final

Chris Martenet and the London Knights will play for the Memorial Cup on Sunday.

Chris Martenet and the London Knights will play for the Memorial Cup on Sunday.

Dallas Stars’ defensive prospect Chris Martenet will play for 2016 Memorial Cup this weekend.

The OHL champion London Knights defeated QMJHL champion Rouyn-Noranda Huskies 5-2 to complete round robin play with a perfect 3-0 record in Red Deer, Alberta.

With the best record in pool play London advances to Sunday’s championship game. Their opponent will be determined in Saturday’s semifinal tilt.

In three round robin games Martenet has posted a plus-3, picked up two penalty minutes, and fired a shot on goal. He’s been relatively quiet on an explosive London team in the tournament and has played a sheltered role on the Knights’ blue line.

Martenet is a raw 6-foot-7 defensive prospect drafted in the fourth round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. He recently signed his three-year entry level contract with Dallas last week.

Improving Wrong Side of the Red Line and introducing two new projects

(Photo by Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)

(Photo by Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)

Last week we launched a survey at Wrong Side of the Red Line for reader feedback. Today, we’re acting on the results and expanding the scope of the site to best fit the needs of our readers.

Based on the results, readers are looking for the following:

— More individual prospect coverage at all levels, including those in major junior, NCAA, and Europe.
— In-depth analysis of systems/strategies used by the Texas Stars.
— More coverage of the Stars’ ECHL-affiliate the Idaho Steelheads.
— An easily trackable way to look at player usage, including AHL line combinations and special teams.
— More frequent podcasts (Wrong Side of the Red Line Live) with player interviews.

We plan to deliver on these results, starting today.

Wrong Side of the Red Line is going to take an expanded role covering Dallas Stars’ prospects at all levels. If a player is in the Dallas system, whether that means major junior, NCAA, Europe, etc., they’ll be covered at this site.

Once the 2016-17 season starts, look for more in-depth analysis of systems and how different players react. This is a process that will be aided with film study and breakdowns, which will be shared here.

More ECHL and Idaho Steelheads coverage. While this isn’t going to dominate the site, you can expect more frequent updates and stories on the ECHL team in Boise.

Finally, you can also look forward to better record keeping of player usage and more frequent podcasts. We are still defining what it’ll look like, but you can expect a devoted page on the site to this endeavor before the 2016-17 season.

In addition, Wrong Side of the Red Line is launching a pair of publications, and both will be yours for just $3 a month. You can subscribe and help support the site by following this link.

Don’t worry, the rest of the site will remain free.

But, if you’ve enjoyed this site, it’s coverage, and would like to see more consider subscribing/donating to help our efforts.

And consider for less than a cup of coffee or a beer at any professional sports venue, you’ll get the following:

AHL Monthly Report — An e-magazine that covers all 30 teams in the AHL. This publication will consist of team-by-team reports from all 30 teams, features on individual players and teams, and the state of the league in general.

The first edition will launch after the conclusion of the Calder Cup, while publication will move into a monthly cycle during the 2016-17 season.

Dallas Stars prospect insider — A new monthly insider prospect report that will launch in June before the NHL draft.

This publication will included scouting reports, prospect updates, and exclusive stories on players at all levels in Dallas’ system — NCAA, major junior, and Europe included.

If a player is in the Stars’ system, they’ll be covered each month. In addition, you’ll see insight from scouts, coaches, and others on the future of the Stars organization.

Esa Lindell will close out successful season with World Championships medal

Esa Lindell and Team Finland will play for a gold medal on Sunday. (Photo by Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)

Esa Lindell and Team Finland will play for a gold medal on Sunday. (Photo by Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)

Esa Lindell’s 2015-16 season is going to end with a medal.

Team Finland will play in the championship game of the 2016 IIHF World Championships on Sunday after a 3-1 semifinal victory against the host Russians.

Lindell played 18 minutes and 4 seconds in 24 shifts Saturday for Finland. He had an assist on Sebastian Aho’s second period power play goal and drew a pair of penalties — including one against Alexander Ovechkin that eventually led to a Finnish goal by Aho.

It was another impressive performance in a long season for Lindell, who will celebrate his 22nd birthday on Monday.

Between the Traverse City Prospects Tournament, NHL pre-season, AHL season regular season and playoffs (plus the AHL All-Star Classic), a four-game NHL stint, and now the World Championships Lindell has played 96 games in the past nine months.

It’s a large sample size and the 6-foot-3, 210-pound Finn is ready to be an every day defenseman with the Dallas Stars next season.

“I think I’m ready (for the NHL),” Lindell said after the AHL season came to an end. “(This season) was more games than I’m used to, but I like playing games more than practicing.”

And when he’s at his best Lindell is a quietly effective defenseman that can move the puck, play on special teams, and munch minutes.

Frankly, it’s the perfect fit for Stars’ system and he would fit well playing alongside John Klingberg of Stephen Johns in Dallas on opening night.

In the AHL he averaged 25 to 27 minutes per game this season, according to Texas Stars coach Derek Laxdal (time on ice isn’t an official stat in the AHL), and he played in all situations. He was good on the penalty kill, while he was effective at getting shots through on the power play.

Defensively Lindell isn’t a battering ram like Johns, his defensive partner to start the season with the Texas. Lindell is more of tactician with his long reach and ties players up in front of the net rather than bowling them over.

That was evident Saturday when he stripped the puck from Ovechkin with a deft poke check, joined the rush, and was taken down by the Washington Capitals’ captain to draw a Finnish power play. Moments later Aho scored his second goal of the game and the Finns were headed to the championship game.

AHL officially headed to Arizona after unanimous vote by Tucson City Council

(Photo by Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)

(Photo by Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)

The American Hockey League is officially headed to Arizona.

A Tucson City Council meeting on Monday approved the measure unanimously, 7-0, clearing the final hurdle for the Arizona Coyotes to move their AHL affiliate from Springfield, Massachusetts to Tucson, Arizona.

Tucson will likely play in the Pacific Division with the five California teams and the two Texas teams. It’s yet to be finalized, but it appears the Tucson team will also play 68 games to align with the California teams.

Reader Survey: What do you want to see from Wrong Side of the Red Line?

(Photo by Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)

(Photo by Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)

Here at Wrong Side of the Red Line we care about the reader experience.

So, how did we do this season?

Please answer the quick survey below to help improve the site and help Wrong Side of the Red Line best serve your Texas Stars and Dallas Stars’ prospects coverage needs.

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Shore thing: Devin Shore already laying goundwork for comeback season

Devin Shore celebrates a goal before his injury. (Photo by Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)

Devin Shore celebrates a goal before his injury. (Photo by Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)

Devin Shore vividly remembers the hit that ended his season.

He catches a pass from Stephen Johns in the neutral zone, carries it up the left wing, and chips it into the offensive zone just before gaining the blue line.

Then everything goes south.

As Shore makes the chip, Charlotte Checkers defenseman Ryan Murphy drops his hip and derrière, forming a wall right in front of the Charlotte bench. Shore is in stride at full speed and takes a half leap to get out of the way, but it’s too late.

“I saw the back of his jersey and his number at my feet,” Shore said. “There was nothing else I could do.”

Shore lands hard on his right shoulder, and right away he knows it isn’t good. The Cedar Park Center crowd let’s out an “oooohhhh” while the 21-year-old is writhing in pain, his legs kick in a combination of frustration and pain, while in his head he knows his rookie season is over.

“I’ve hurt this shoulder before back at Maine, but this wasn’t anything I’ve experienced before,” Shore said. “I didn’t know for sure it would be surgery, but that definitely popped right into my mind.”

The check was unpenalized at the time, but later earned Murphy a three-game suspension for clipping. The incident brought a catastrophic end to one of the most promising individual seasons in Texas’ franchise history.

No rookie, or player for that matter, in the AHL was having a better season than Shore before he was cut down by Murphy.

Devin Shore leaves the ice with an upper-body injury after a hit by Ryan Murphy. (Photo by Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)

Devin Shore leaves the ice with an upper-body injury after a hit by Ryan Murphy. (Photo by Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)

On opening night he scored the game-winning overtime goal against the San Antonio Rampage on a Peter Forsberg-esque breakaway move, setting off a campaign that earned him AHL Player of the Month honors in October with 11 points and eight goals in nine games.

That showing led to Shore’s first NHL call-up and he made his Dallas Stars debut on Nov. 3 and appeared in three games with the NHL club. It was a taste that built Shore’s confidence and he returned to the AHL by piecing together a modest six-game goal streak and 10-game point streak.

But that point-streak, which finished tied for the fifth-best in the AHL, came to an end with Shore’s season early in the third period of a 5-4 loss on Dec. 11.

“It was really hard mentally,” Shore said. “If you ask my teammates, I’m always the guy smiling. But this definitely weighed on me.”

But he found positives in the situation.

He had a strong start to the season and got his first NHL opportunity. Plus, this was the shoulder he had injured in the past, so why not get it re-built and come back stronger?

In addition it gave him an opportunity to watch more hockey and “learn from above,” while he looked at the example Radek Faksa set last season — who suffered a similar shoulder injury — as a model for recovery and proof he could come back even stronger.

Shore also continued to work on his degree from the University of Maine, adding two more classes for the spring semester, and is hoping to finish his degree by “this time next year.”

It’s a combination of patience and hard work that Shore is hoping turns into a Faksa-like return next season.

Devin Shore said he's taking the positives from this season. (Photo by Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)

Devin Shore said he’s taking the positives from this season. (Photo by Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)

He was effectively grounded for two weeks after undergoing the surgery in Dallas, but started riding the stationary bike and doing physical therapy as soon as the doctor allowed. He slowly added exercises throughout his rehab and week-by-week, he felt the progress.

“The shoulder feels great, really great actually,” Shore said on Thursday, talking via phone while visiting his soon-to-graduate friends at Maine. “It’s still tight and healing, but as far as the joints go, it feels really stable.”

Shore says he feels 100 percent in every day life, while he’s already started skating. He’s not cleared to shoot a puck yet, hopefully by June 1, but simply being on the ice has further invigorated his rehab process and mental health.

“I’ve never gone so long without skating,” he said. “Just your blades gripping into the ice, finally feeling the wind on your face. I know this sounds cheesy, but just being alone on the ice by myself felt amazing.”

Right now Shore’s on-ice activities are limited to skating and light stick handling. He’s skating twice and working out off-ice five days a week back home in Ajax, Ontario. He’s also been stick handling with a ball off the ice, which he said is “very therapeutic.”

It’s not set in stone, but Shore is hoping to be cleared for full-contact practice in time for Dallas’ development camp in July.

That would be the next step toward a strong return for the 2016-17 season. Shore is aware he’s a long-shot to make the NHL roster, coming off a season-ending injury will do that to you, but he’s dedicated to the process and has taken notes from the 2015-16 season.

When he was in Dallas, both as a call-up and a surgery patient, he soaked up everything he could about the NHL game. He talked to Faksa about coming off a shoulder injury, watched Dallas’ veteran leaders and really examined what it takes to make the jump to the NHL.

“It’s a big jump, but I learned I can play there and not be overwhelmed,” Shore said. “That’s what the taste (of the NHL) did for me.”

His lessons in the AHL were just as valuable as he learned how to be a pro. And Shore credits Texas veteran Greg Rallo with helping his growth as a person.

Before his injury Rallo and Shore roomed together on road trips. Before and after the injury he was often at Rallo’s house and the two became “as close as a 21-year-old and 34-year-old can be.”

“He just made sure everything is going well, on and off the ice,” Shore said. “Making sure you have finances in order, how to get a new drivers license, all those things you don’t really know about until you live on your own. You can’t buy that experience on a shelf, you have to experience it and he was awesome.”

Of course it wasn’t desired, but Shore now has his own life experience of dealing with a season-ending injury, and he says he’ll be better for it. He looks at this past season as success — even if it was incomplete — and thinks the number of goals he scored actually masked his other growth as a two-way forward.

“I think that had to do with confidence and some puck luck,” Shore said of the goal total. “If I had to label or title myself as a player, I would say I’m a two-way player with some offensive ability. I want to be confident with or without the puck in all three zones, and with that I can throw in little bit of goal scoring.”

Dallas Stars Game 7 loss a disappointing learning experience for young team

St. Louis Blues center Paul Stastny, center left obscured, celebrates his goal with teammates Robby Fabbri (15), Colton Parayko (55) and Troy Brouwer (36) as Dallas Stars Valeri Nichushkin (43), Jason Demers (4), Mattias Janmark (13) and Jason Spezza (90) skate away during the first period of Game 7 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Western Conference semifinals Wednesday, May 11, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

St. Louis Blues center Paul Stastny, center left obscured, celebrates his goal with teammates Robby Fabbri (15), Colton Parayko (55) and Troy Brouwer (36) as Dallas Stars Valeri Nichushkin (43), Jason Demers (4), Mattias Janmark (13) and Jason Spezza (90) skate away during the first period of Game 7 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Western Conference semifinals Wednesday, May 11, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

DALLAS — Mattias Janmark sat back in his stall, skates still tied, staring at the wall.

A couple seats to his left Radek Faksa quickly removed his gear, silently, and didn’t look up from his task.

Across the room Stephen Johns was already on his way out, his gear removed and searching for a place to hide from the zoo-like media contingency that was currently surrounding Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn.

No easy way to put it for the Stars, the 6-1 loss in Game 7 to the St. Louis Blues at home stung.

“It’s just disappointing, you can’t really think about anything else right now,” Janmark said. “Just disappointed right now, that’s about it.”

Yes, it hurts.

But, for the Stars young players that emerged this season the seven-game series with the Blues will be a building block for the future.

During the postseason players like Janmark, Johns, and Faksa learned about the nature of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. They learned about the razor-thin line between success and disappointment, a lesson not lost on other playoff newbies John Klingberg and Valeri Nichuskin.

Even those slightly older players with limited playoff experience — Benn, Cody Eakin, amongst others — picked up valuable lessons for next season.

It stings, but it’s a loss that Dallas can build toward next season. And if you’re being realistic this wasn’t supposed to be Stars season.

Dallas missed the playoffs in 2015 and with a similar roster — yes, there were some additions — the Stars posted the best record in the Western Conference, won a playoff series, and pushed a veteran St. Louis team to seven games.

In all, it’s really gravy for a team that’s likely built to truly compete for a cup in 2017.

Of course there are some major questions heading into the off-season, there always is. How will Dallas shore up the goaltending? How do you make room for over-ripe prospects? What about all those pending free agent defensemen?

But, the core will be back. And it’ll have a stronger base of younger players that learned and will have a chance to dissect their postseason experience over the next couple days.

“I’m sure this will help us in the future, but I can’t really think about that right now,” Janmark said. “Maybe in a couple days. Right now it’s still just disappointment.”

Disappointing, yes, but this was just the beginning for Dallas’ young core.

Quotable: What to expect in a Game 7

ST. LOUIS, MO - MAY 9: Kris Russell #2 of the Dallas Stars looks to clear the puck against Troy Brouwer #36 of the St. Louis Blues in Game Six of the Western Conference Second Round during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Scottrade Center on May 9, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

ST. LOUIS, MO – MAY 9: Kris Russell #2 of the Dallas Stars looks to clear the puck against Troy Brouwer #36 of the St. Louis Blues in Game Six of the Western Conference Second Round during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Scottrade Center on May 9, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

DALLAS — The Dallas Stars and St. Louis Blues meet in Game 7 of the Western Conference Semifinals tonight at American Airlines Center.

Players and coaches from both teams had the following to say about Game 7 and the expected atmosphere after morning skate today.

Lindy Ruff:

“I expect us to play one heck of a game. I think we’re excited, we know how to play the game and we know what they’re going to bring, but I’m excited to see our compete level. We know it will be a lot better in the flow of the game. Excited to be in our building.”

Ken Hitchcock

“We have a routine, this is our second go at Game 7s. As I told the players last night, I don’t really care if it’s Game 7 or Game 107, this is a great opportunity. We’ve taken so many steps as a team this year. This is foreign ground for a lot of guys and it’s a great opportunity to be able to play in a conference final, so you got to play your best, you got to go out and really play well, you got to have every element of your game going. But we already have that information from the Chicago series, so there’s no surprises and that’s why we’ve followed our routine. We did all of our prep work the night before and today was just to get a feel for it. That’s the type of skate we had and let’s go full tonight.”

Patrick Eaves:

“You’ve got to have a good start I guess. That’s the biggest thing. Keep it simple, just play for each other. It’s big moment as a team to play in a Game 7. It’s special as a player and as a group and you’ve just got to play together.”

“Yeah, it’s fun, it’s why you play and you’re thankful for these opportunities to play in the Game 7s. Yeah, just thankful again to have another opportunity.”

Vernon Fiddler:

“We’re excited. We knew it wasn’t going to be an easy series and we knew it was going to go the distance. We’ve worked hard for this all year and we’ve put ourselves in a good spot to have home ice. There’s no better place to have a Game 7 than here in Dallas, and we are really looking forward to the opportunity.”

Jason Spezza

“It’s definitely amped up more. We understand what’s at stake. You want to keep playing and it’s a big time of year. No, there’s more that goes into a Game 7 for sure.”

Jason Demers

“You have to force yourself to be on your toes. Lindy said it this morning, we’ve got to make plays. Maybe it’s those first few shifts, you kind of feel it out. Some guys will be nervous, some guys are used to it. After that you settle into your game, you have to play the system and play what got us here. That’s the way we’re going to win this game and beat St. Louis.”

Steve Ott

Said referees tend to call less in a Game 7:

“I think human nature when it’s a coin flip in the sense of Game 7s, in general. If you’re a referee you want two teams settling this one. That’s the issue.”

“Like boxing, like anything else, you try to let the teams and the individuals settle the score.”

Troy Brouwer

“It’s nice to have that experience and obviously being able to come out on top in the first series is going to give us a lot of confidence going into this Game 7. Guys, I don’t know if they were nervous for last series, but there’s no room for that anymore.”

Guryanov terminates KHL contract, could play for Texas Stars next season

Dallas Stars’ 2015 first-round draft pick Denis Guryanov could be making his North American debut next season with the Texas Stars.

Guryanov has terminated his contract with Lada Togliatti, as reported on KHL’s official transaction page. The contract termination gives Dallas more freedom for next season with the prospect and opens up the opportunity for Guryanov to play in the AHL next season.

Guryanov was the 12th overall pick at last year’s NHL Entry draft.

He appeared in 47 KHL games this season as 18-year-old and had five points (four goals, one assist). Guryanov also played in seven MHL games (the Russian junior league) and had six points (four goals, two assists).

Guryanov was a late cut from the Russian World Junior team when he took a foolish slashing penalty in a pre-tournament game.

Texas Stars season review, Part 3: goalies

We’ve reached the final position breakdown for the 2015-16 Texas Stars season and it was by far the most polarizing spot.

Goaltending was the Stars’ weakness this season as a combination of four goaltenders failed to provide the insurance one of the AHL’s best offensive teams needed. Plan A had been to have Jack Campbell and John Muse in Texas as the goalie tandem, but that flamed out tremendously.

The good news for Texas was that two younger goaltenders did emerge as potential reliable AHL players for next season. Maxime Lagace and Philippe Desrosiers had their struggles, but that can be attributed to youth and you would hope they’ll be better for it next season.

Consider the following, and it’s incredible to think that Texas still made the playoffs with goaltending turmoil that consisted of:

— The originally planned opening-night starter (Campbell) was hurt in NHL training camp and missed the first six weeks.
— Once he returned that planned No. 1 was arguably, and statistically, the worst goalie in the league.
— The actual opening-night starter (Muse) was traded away at the AHL trade deadline for nothing (future considerations rarely pan out in the AHL) after he was relegated to third-string duty.
— The savior of the season (Lagace) dealt with injuries that hurt his ability to really succeed and he struggled down the stretch.
— Texas ended up with a goalie controversy heading into the playoffs and had to turn to the fallen original starter and the now-twice-demoted-to-the-ECHL Campbell.

And Texas still won 40 games, imagine if the Stars had consistent goaltending all season.

Maxime Lagace waits for a shot during warmups before a game earlier this season. (Photo by Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)

Maxime Lagace waits for a shot during warmups before a game earlier this season. (Photo by Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)

Maxime Lagace
Season Stats: 36 GP, 19-10-3, .913 SV%, 2.90 GAA
Contract Status: Restricted free agent
2016-17 Expectation: Opening night starter for Texas

Lagace was one of the pleasant surprises this season and went from failed free agent signing to legitimate NHL prospect. One year after Dallas struggled to find an ECHL team that would even take him, Lagace helped settle down Texas’ goaltending issues after Christmas. Lagace developed a big-game mentality and was very good when facing high quantity shots. He had some late season struggles and lost the starting job in the playoffs, which should give him an even bigger chip on his shoulder heading into next season.

Jack Campbell made 17 saves in relief. (Photo by Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)

Jack Campbell made 17 saves in relief. (Photo by Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)

Jack Campbell
Season Stats: 19 GP, 7-7-5, .884 SV%, 3.65 GAA
Contract Status: Restricted Free Agent
2016-17 Expectation: AHL starter in another organization

Campbell’s time in the Dallas organization will likely come to an end this summer. The first-round pick simply never put it together in his time in the organization, and when he was good — like in 2014 — he couldn’t avoid injuries. Campbell was very good when banished to the ECHL and finished fourth in the ECHL Goalie of the Year voting despite spending just two months in Idaho. He’s a restricted free agent this summer and a change of scenery will be good for both Campbell and Stars organization next season.

The Stars want to see Philippe Desrosiers playing more games. (Photo by Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)

The Stars want to see Philippe Desrosiers playing more games. (Photo by Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)

Philippe Desrosiers
Season Stats: 10 GP, 5-5-0, .903 SV%, 2.82 GAA
Contract Status: NHL two-way contract through 2017-18 season.
2016-17 Expectation: Full-time AHL goalie with Texas

Desrosiers ended up with the best goals against average on the Texas roster and was on both sides of the spectrum this season. When he was good, he was real good. When he was bad, he was real bad. The young goalie should be more consistent next season after his first full pro season and will have a chance to share the net next season with Lagace in Texas.