The Dallas Stars have never been a major player with college free agents. You never really hear their name attached to any of the big ones, and until recently it never seemed like they were very active at all. How much of an impact does the signing of Jim Montgomery to be the Stars next coach have on that going forward?
Montgomery has led the University of Denver Pioneers to be one of the more respected programs in the NCAA since taking over in 2014. His players are starting to make a mark at the NHL level. Will Butcher in New Jersey, Danton Heinen in Boston, and soon Henrik Borgstrom and US Olympian Troy Terry will be in the NHL.
Gavin Bayreuther and now Tony Calderone have joined the Stars as NCAA free agents the past two seasons. If the Stars want to be even more active, having a resource like Montgomery available can only help. He gives them firsthand access to knowledge and sources to help them make more informed decisions about who to pursue.
On the other hand, if you’re a college free agent unsure about heading to a team in Dallas couldn’t seeing Montgomery in place help pacify your worries? He’s a big name in college hockey and surely could be a valuable recruiting chip.
Montgomery should also bring another perspective on the prospects the Stars currently have in the NCAA. This is part of the value of going outside the organization for some fresh blood. He should have some of his own views on players like Riley Tufte, Colton Point, Joe Cecconi, and Jake Oettinger as they try to break into the NHL very soon.
All of that alone is a worthwhile impact, but why not see if that influence can help improve the Stars organization now? Many college free agents are still unsigned. Among those is one of his former key players at Denver: goaltender Tanner Jaillet.
The four year starter at Denver has a career .925 save percentage. That’s pretty salty and has improved the last two years. He was named the 2017 Mike Richter Award recipient as the top goaltender in the NCAA.
Of course, he’s 5’10 so he’s going to get passed over. Why shouldn’t a franchise like the Stars give him a shot? They have Point and Oettinger coming, sure. They aren’t coming next year though. 24 year old Jalliet is going to have to work to be in a position to block either player, but if he made himself that useful is it really a bad thing?
Right now the Texas Stars need goaltending for next season. Landon Bow is the only goalie under contract for 2019. Outside of half of a season in the WHL and half of a season in the ECHL he’s just been ok. They’ll need an emergency NHL option, but why not take a swing at something more with someone who has had as much success as Jalliet in tandem with a veteran?
The beauty of that question is the Stars now have someone who can directly answer it. Getting more involved in the pursuit of college talent makes a ton of sense, and they are now uniquely situated to do it with an extra bounty of information thanks to the hiring of Montgomery.