This will be a week that Dallas Stars defense prospect Jamie Oleksiak will never forget. On Monday, the 20-year-old played in the AHL All-Star Classic, representing the Texas Stars. On Friday, he will make his NHL debut for Dallas when they take on the Phoenix Coyotes. The team recalled Oleksiak today and hope the 6-7, 250-pound youngster will bring size, reach and physical presence to their blue line.
Oleksiak has 23 points in 43 AHL games this season, putting him in the top 20 in rookie scoring and in the top 15 amongst all defensemen in the league. He was the 14th overall pick in the 2011 draft after one season at Northeastern University and split time between the Saginaw Spirit and Niagara Ice Dogs in the OHL last season. He recorded 32 points between the two teams and had an astonishing plus-31 rating for the season.
In the AHL, he has also shown an ability to lay down big hits and hasn’t been afraid to defend himself. In the first fight of his pro career earlier this season, he got the best of Florida Panthers prospect Alex Petrovic in a lengthy but mostly one-sided bout.
After a hot start, the Stars have lost four straight games, three of them by one-goal margins. Goaltender Kari Lehtonen has been playing well, but the defense has allowed 40 or more shots three separate times. Adding a good puck-moving defenseman like Oleksiak should also help get the team’s forwards some more chances. The offense has been stagnant since a 4-3 win on opening night and ranks 27th in the league in goals per game.