STARS MAILBAG: Story time, Bayreuther, free agents, and I’m writing a book

I wanted to start today’s mailbag with a Story that loosely relates to the Dallas Stars.

I had a good phone conversation on Thursday morning with John Marks, who coached the newest Dallas Stars defensive prospect Gavin Bayreuther when he played for the Fargo Force in the USHL.

Marks had some good stories about Bayreuther, and said the defensemen was like “Bobby Orr and Denis Potvin” for his team in one USHL season.

However the story that stuck out most to me was a story about a game during the 1987-88 season when when Marks played one game six years after he retired.

Then a coach for the IHL’s Kalamazoo Wings, who were affiliated with the Minnesota North Stars, Marks was forced to play in one game after an odd series of events.

Due to injuries, he was missing five players that were called up to the North Stars. Then the night before the North Stars needed to call up two more players since a pair of players got hurt in warmups, bringing the Wings down to 10 skaters.

Then Marks had to let a player head home for a family issue, dropping his number of healthy skaters to nine.

“So I called the league and asked what they wanted me to do,” Marks said. “They said well, you could put yourself officially on the roster and play if you needed to.”

And that’s what Marks, at the time 40-years-old, did.

“I went into the locker room before the game and told them I was playing left wing. I wasn’t going to forecheck and I was in it with them,” Marks said. “We we ended up winning 4-0 and I scored a goal late in the game. Jon Casey had a shutout and we played a simple, actually very simple game with just 10 skaters.”

To top it all off, Marks had to put himself on waivers the next day.

“This really is the kicker to the whole story, I had to put myself on waivers to take myself off the roster with a handful of players coming back from Minnesota,” Marks said. “Flint (Spirits) went and claimed me the next day. I had to refuse to report.”

On another note, earlier this week I signed a book deal with Triumph Publishing to write “100 Things Stars Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die.”

The book is part of Triumph’s 100 Things series and is due out in October of 2018.

And yes, the first chapter will center around the events of June 19, 1999.

Let’s dive into the mailbag:

They’ve got their eyes on a couple guys, but most are going to be AHL-level players that could earn an NHL contract after a strong AHL season.

I know the Stars scout department is well represented this weekend at several of the NCAA conference tournaments.

The problem is that there aren’t many free agents to list.

At right wing, Patrick Eaves may be the top free agent target, but it’s a generally thin crop of pending unrestricted free agents at right wing. That’s one of the reasons I think the Stars will protect Brett Ritchie in the expansion draft, and hope he can take that next step as a top-six right wing.

On defense, there aren’t many options for a top-level left-handed defensemen in free agency.

Perhaps the Stars could try and sign pending unrestricted free agent Karl Alzner to add some stability on the left side.

Certainly possible, but let’s see what Bayreuther does during his first AHL season.

I’m currently working on scheduling another trip to Cedar Park to watch him in person and get a better in-depth scouting report on the free agent signing.

Ideally Bayreuther will be a full-time NHLer after one AHL season. He signed a two-year entry-level contract, so an NHL jump in year two is somewhat expected and would be the ideal fit for both the player and the team.

I don’t think it’s really fair to compare the two, especially since I think both could have a key impact next season.

Remi Elie is looking like a key bottom-six winger that can kills penalties and play anywhere in the lineup. Mattias Janmark could be the wildcard the Stars need to inject to their lineup after missing a full season due to injury.

The big question with Janmark is his health. Will he make a full recovery? With his condition, we don’t know what the future holds, so the team needs to be patient.

If both are good to go next season, the Stars look like a better, faster team.

I’ll have to ask for an update on Michael Prapvessis early next week. However, last time I spoke with Stars officials about him the plan was for him to return to RPI for his senior season.

I’ll work on getting an update to confirm for next week’s mailbag.

I think Patrick Sharp probably fits the bill. In the past Patrick Eaves was nominated for overcoming a concussion and foot injuries, this season Sharp has overcome a concussion and is currently playing through an injury that will eventually end his season.

From what I’ve been able to gather, most of the NHL at least reached out to the agent representing Zach Aston-Reese, who had 63 points in 38 NCAA games this season.

That Stars certainly inquired, but they weren’t ever in the running to actually land the undrafted center.

You could give it a try, but I don’t think Vegas would be interested in such a deal.

A more likely trade scenario with Vegas would be using the Stars extra fourth-round pick and sending it to Vegas to protect another player.

If you didn’t give it a read yet, here is a link to my WFAA story from Thursday on the Stars defensemen and how I likened it to asset management in Monopoly.

There’s a laundry list of names that I could throw out there, so let’s put it this way.

I think the Stars could use their bounty of defensive prospects to land the goalie of the future, or make a trade for a top-pairing defensemen this summer.

In my mind the on the Stars defense only one player is untouchable — John Klingberg — and you use the rest of the assets to help create the best team possible for the future.

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