Stars sign Austin Smith to entry-level deal

The Dallas Stars made it official this afternoon -- they've signed forward Austin Smith, the team's fifth round pick (128th overall) in 2007 to a two-year, to a two-year entry-level contract.

Smith, a Dallas native, just wrapped up his college career at Colgate, where he scored 36 goals in 39 games this season. He is among 10 finalists for the Hobey Baker Award, which goes to the top player in college hockey.

Smith will play the rest of the season in the AHL, where he signed an amateur tryout contract with the Texas Stars yesterday.

Here's the release from the Dallas Stars:

The Dallas Stars announced today that the club has signed forward Austin Smith to a two-year entry-level contract. Smith, 23, reported on Tuesday to the Texas Stars, Dallas' primary affiliate in the American Hockey League (AHL), after completing a four-year career at Colgate University.

The 5-11, 180-pound forward from Dallas, TX led the NCAA this season in goals (36) and ranks third in overall scoring with 57 points. He is also one of 10 student-athletes nominated for the Hobey Baker Award, given annually to the top player in NCAA Division I hockey.

"Austin Smith is one of the best young prospects in the NCAA and we are very excited for his future in this organization," Dallas Stars General Manager Joe Nieuwendyk said. "Austin is a tremendously gifted player and is a testament to the growth of hockey in the North Texas area."

Dallas' fifth-round selection (No. 128 overall) in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, Smith was born in Dallas and grew up playing hockey in the Dr Pepper StarCenter Youth Hockey system. Smith was the first native Texan drafted by the Dallas Stars organization and attended Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas for his first two years of high school prior to playing for the Penticton Vees of the British Columbia Hockey League.

During his senior season at Colgate, Smith led the Eastern College Athletic Conference in points (57) and goals (36). He also notched 16 multi-point games and nine multi-goal games during the 2011-12 campaign. Over his four-year career at Colgate, Smith appeared in 153 games, collecting 79 goals and 81 assists for 160 points.