WWW.AEROS.COM - SEASON PREVIEW
Prior to the beginning of the Aeros 2012-13 season, Josh Fisher and Joe O’Donnell break down the Aeros South Division foes.
Texas Stars – South Division
2011-12 Record: 21-40-3-2, 67 points
Aeros All-time Record vs TEX – 20-12-3-1 (.611%)
2011-12 Season Series = Aeros 7-2-2-1 (.708)
The Texas Stars had a rough season in 2011-12, a far cry from their previous success – which includes an appearance in the 2010 Calder Cup Finals. Texas finished 19 games under .500 and never really made it out of last place in the West Division after Dec. 16, 2011. Big changes were made, starting behind the bench. New Head Coach Willie Desjardins and newly appointed Assistant Coach Doug Lidster. Together, they have transformed the atmosphere in Cedar Park. Desjardins and Lidster have a young and talented crew ready for the season.
The transition started in late March for Texas when a handful of prospects turned pro for the final ten games of the season. With that experience, guys like Austin Smith, Alex Chiasson and Jack Campbell (11th overall in 2010) got a sneak peak of what to expect. Also, Reilly Smith went from Miami Univ. (OH) straight to Dallas for the last three games of the season. Young first-round pick (14th overall in 11) Jamie Oleksiak also turns pro. The defenseman is quite a specimen, standing in at 6-foot-7 and 250-pounds. Scary thing is, he is only 20 years old and still has room to grow. Patrik Nemeth (41st overall in 2010) is another young prospect on the blueline for Texas.
The Stars brought in a few new veterans which should be a big help. Defenseman Tyler Sloan has a good locker room presence and will provide a tough opponent every night. Forward Toby Petersen has played in nearly 400 NHL games, mostly with Dallas. His last full season in the AHL was in 2007-08, when he scored 21 goals and totaled 51 points in 63 games with Iowa.
Don’t forget about the two second-year pros on the blueline, Jordie Benn and Brenden Dillon. Both have grown by leaps and bounds and will threaten for a spot in Dallas once the NHL resumes play. Another second-year pro is right wing Matt Fraser. He tied for sixth in rookie scoring with Justin Fontaine of the Aeros. More importantly, he has a nose for the net. Fraser was second in the league with 37 goals for the Stars last year.
I expect this team to be competitive and I believe they have the potential to be a contender for the West division. Texas will likely return to its previous success and be a tough adversary for Houston this season.
Guys you may know already –
Aeros fans will recognize a handful of fourth-year Stars. Forwards Travis Morin, Francis Wathier, Luke Gazdic and Colton Sceviour, as well as defenseman Maxime Fortunus (former Aero) are facing Houston for the fourth straight year. Morin is the team’s all-time leading scorer. Wathier and Gazdic are both capable of scoring 20 goals while providing a physical presence. Sceviour is nearly a point a game throughout his career against the Aeros. Fortunus is likely to be the captain of Texas and he will excel in that role.
Players to Watch -
G – Jack Campbell – The 11th overall pick in 2010 played the last 12 games of the season for Texas last year. The experience alone will make him better to start this season. He went 4-7-0 with a .912 save percentage and a 3.02 goals against average. Those numbers would have been better, but the team struggled down the stretch. He has the capability to be a game-changer. Campbell makes very good saves and does it regularly. He will be a treat to watch this season.
F – Tomas Vincour – This young right wing has been on the cusp of the NHL for the last two seasons, spending the majority of his time in Dallas. Vincour has good size and he can snipe. Last year in 22 games with Texas, Vincour scored 12 times and had 16 points.
F – Scott Glennie – Dallas’ first round pick in 2009 (8th overall) is heading into his second full season and has a chance to prove against tough competition that he is ready to be a contributor at the next level. He racked up 37 points in his first pro season. With more talent around this season, Glennie should be able to post better numbers as he continues his development.
The Season Series –
The Aeros and Stars will meet 12 times this season, including six games at the Toyota Center.
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