Thursday, January 31, 2013
Oleksiak's NHL opportunity
By Victoria Matiash
Defenseman Jamie Oleksiak is likely only 34 hours (or so) away from making his NHL debut.
As reported by Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News, the general manager of the Dallas Stars recalled Oleksiak Wednesday afternoon with the intention of playing the towering youngster immediately.
“We'll see what he can do (on the Stars' upcoming three-game road trip), and then we'll assess from there," GM Joe Nieuwendyk said.
"We've watched him play very well at the AHL level, so now it’s time to see what he can do at the NHL level."
Assuming the Stars stick with their top-four -- Stephane Robidas, Trevor Daley, Alex Goligoski and Philip Larsen -- that leaves Brenden Dillon and Jordie Benn as top candidates to sit out. However, no one is in immediate danger of demotion. Nieuwendyk has indicated a willingness to stick with eight defensemen for the time being.
And if Oleksiak makes the impression of which many believe he's capable, Heika believes the imposing youngster could remain with the big boys for a while.
"... Oleksiak is believed by most to be the team’s best prospect. Drafted 14th overall in 2011, he just turned 20 in December. Listed at 6-7, 254, his nickname is 'The Big Rig'. He has a long stride and is a good skater. He also can be a physical presence ... Comparisons are out there to people like Zdeno Chara and Tyler Myers because of the size alone, but Dallas wants to take its time with his development. Still, the Stars see Oleksiak as a huge part of their future, because he appears to be a defenseman who can eat minutes and play in several roles -- and that pretty much makes him a candidate to eventually fill the No. 1 role this team so desperately needs ..."