The Dallas Stars made a signing yesterday, inking Taylor Peters to a standard three-year entry-level contract that will start with the 2013-14 season.
The undrafted 21-year-old Peters has been with the WHL Portland Winterhawks junior team since the 2007-08 season, save for a stint with the juniors Penticton Vees in 2009-10. He’s in his final season with the Winterhawks and now that he has the backing of an NHL team, his post-Portland future is a little brighter.
Last season, Peters was named the team’s best defensive player and was one of the scholastic players of the year, meaning he is just as good in the classroom as he is on the ice. He also played all 72 games of the regular season and was one of five Winterhawks to accomplish that. Plus, he posted career-highs for goals (12) and assists (26) while going to the WHL Final for the second year in a row and getting a goal and seven assists in 22 playoff games.
The Winterhawks lost in the final, just as they did the year before, but still, he has playoff experience that he can bring to a team that hasn’t made the playoffs since 2008-09. (Although if the Stars do miss the postseason again, they have a shot at getting the first pick in the 2013 draft no matter what–can anyone say Plano, Texas native Seth Jones?)
With most of the WHL season in the books this year, Peters has 13 goals and 24 assists in 62 games. If he keeps up his perfect attendance like he did last year and the year before that, he should be able to put up two more assists and maybe add some more goals to make new career highs. He’s also really turned around his plus-minus rating, posting a +24 right now as opposed to -2 last season.
Look for Peters to get some more development time next season with the AHL Texas Stars.
The Winterhawks have turned out some impressive alumni before, names like Marian Hossa, Andrew Ference, Mark Messier, Cam Neely and Stars captain Brenden Morrow.