The Dallas Stars wrapped up their development camp on Friday afternoon and also said goodbye to their Inside Edge, Mark Stepneski, as he officially began retirement.
It was a busy Friday for the Dallas Stars. And while it wasn’t necessarily busy in the way you might expect (free agent signings, extensions, or trades) considering the time of the offseason, there was plenty to keep up with as Dallas prepares for July 1.
With the rumors about Free Agency growing and the front office gearing up for another interesting summer on the market, it was a relatively normal day on the ice.
The Stars wrapped up their 2019 Development Camp on Friday morning by playing a scrimmage-like event in front of a good handful of spectators. The prospects used their groups as the basis for teams and played a little 4-on-4 and 5-on-5, with every player getting a good amount of ice time (including all three goalies). Team White scored a goal with less than one minute to go in the game to tie the score at 5-5 and the scrimmage went to a full-team shootout to wrap things up.
And so, a week of drills and scrimmaging came to an end and the 37 prospects will now either head back to their respective teams or head home and wait for Dallas Stars training camp in September. While it was a good week to learn off-ice skills and valuable life lessons from coaches, coordinators, and speakers, it was also a chance for the prospects to put their skills and talents on display in front of the organization.
It turned out to be a good opportunity for players like Jason Robertson, who showed off his well-rounded skill set on offense after another year in the OHL. Riley Tufte also looked as though he took another step forward this past season with the University of Minnesota-Duluth and should be ready to make a splash in the AHL this season.
Tye Felhaber, Joel Kiviranta, and Emil Djuse were all signed as free agents by the Dallas Stars during the 2018-19 season. All three played to the expected level at development camp and should be ready to make an impact in the organization much sooner rather than later.
Jake Oettinger was very impressive between the pipes and looked incredibly calm and collected for a 20-year-old (something that goaltending coach Jeff Reese raved about). He had a good start to his pro hockey career with the Texas Stars (AHL) at the end of the 2018-19 season and should be in line for a solid full year in 2019-20.
“I think every part of my game has gotten better since . My athleticism and quickness is something you need if you want to be an NHL goalie. I think the work I’ve done off the ice over the past couple of years is something that has really contributed to me being a lot more athletic.” – Jake Oettinger on his development
Ty Dellandrea (groin) and Joseph Cecconi (shoulder) both attended the camp, but did not take part in the activities and drills. I caught up with Dellandrea at one point during the week and he said it’s been frustrating trying to nurse the injury back to health, but he’s getting there. He is excited for training camp and should have a shot at cracking the NHL roster.
On another note outside of the roster and farm system, the Dallas Stars said farewell to writer Mark Stepneski (otherwise known as Stars Inside Edge) on Friday night as he officially began his retirement.
Mark joined DallasStars.com as the Inside Edge back in 2012 and has spent the past seven years keeping Stars fans updated with morning skate stories, features, prospect news, and much more.
But after seven years with the franchise, he’s putting the notepad and laptop aside to take some much-needed time away from the rink. On Friday night, the Stars gave Mark a going away present (a picture signed by Jamie Benn, who considered Mark “his favorite”).
.@StarsInsideEdge started writing for the Stars in 2012 and today is his last day working for the team.
— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) June 28, 2019
And while I try to avoid inserting myself into stories, this move carries significance for me. Just three months after taking over as editor here at Blackout Dallas and beginning what I hoped would turn into a blossoming sports journalism career at the age of 17, I met Mark at the Stars’ training camp in Fort Worth. After introducing myself and telling him of my hopes and aspirations, he generously provided me with his contact information and offered to bring me to a morning skate and game to work as a member of the media if I wanted to see what it was like.
As a 17-year-old in his senior year of high school, I was beside myself with excitement. And so, I used Thanksgiving break to my advantage and shadowed Mark as the Stars played both the Los Angeles Kings and Edmonton Oilers.
Five years later, the site has grown exponentially, my writing has developed considerably, and I’m set up to begin serving as the Dallas Stars correspondent at NHL.com on July 1. Had it not been for Mark, I don’t know where I’d be, but I do know that I wouldn’t be close to where I am now. The site would probably be struggling to generate a following, I likely wouldn’t be known within the Stars organization, and would probably be one month removed from college with nothing other than a diploma to show for it.
I cannot thank Mark enough for all that he has done to help me as a writer and as a professional, and he’ll be missed by all at DallasStars.com. But it’s time for him to try something new, even if he doesn’t know what that something is yet.
So, congratulations on your retirement, Mark. We’ll miss you around the rink.