The road to the NHL has been an interesting story for Ryan Garbutt of the Dallas Stars. He was undrafted and had to make his way to the league in a way most players never even dream of. His journey started in the MJHL then to the ECAC where he went to Brown University. After double majoring in sociology and economics, he then received an offer for the CHL to play with the Corpus Christi Ice Rays. Playing a full season in Corpus Christi, he went onto play with the Gwinnett Gladiators of the ECHL. While playing with the Gladiators, he was loaned to and remained with the Chicago Wolves of the AHL. On July 1, 2011, Garbutt was offered and signed his first NHL contract with the Dallas Stars. A one year, two way deal.
His story is an inspiration to many players who want to play hockey at a major level. He’s a tough forward who can not only score goals but can also drop the mitts. While playing with the Texas Stars before being called up to Dallas, Garbutt recorded 16 goals, and assisted on 17 for 33 points in the 50 games played. Then on February 17, 2012, the dream finally became reality. The Dallas Stars recalled him. His dreams of playing in the NHL came true when the injuries for the Stars were piling up and he proved to everyone that he can play at the top level.
In the 20 games he played Dallas, he scored 2 goals, and assisted on one for 3 points. In his third game after being recalled from the Texas Stars and with his father, Gordon, in the stands, Garbutt notched his first career NHL goal. The goal showcases his power as a skater, and his basic hockey sense in knowing to go to the net.
After the season ended, the Stars rewarded Garbutt with a one year contract. His first full season with the Stars right now is being hampered by the lockout. Now whenever the season starts, Garbutt is expected to be on the fourth line and will be bringing that energy to help jumpstart his team. He has shown head coach Glen Gulutzan that he is easily coachable and willing to play on any line. He has a deadly shot and is gritty and willing to drop the gloves whenever asked to.
Garbutt has proven the NHL and the Dallas Stars that he can play at a top level. As Walt Disney once quoted, “Dreams do come true”. For Ryan Garbutt, his long journey from the MJHL to the NHL has been an inspirational story to many young players who want to play professionally.