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Wednesday, August 3, 2011
First season a learning experience for Tomas Vincour

By Mark Stepneski

Tomas Vincour was on the Dallas Stars’ roster when last season ended. But being on it when next season starts could be a different story.

With the Stars adding five forwards via free agency this summer, the young right wing is going to have his work cut out for him when it comes to cracking the Dallas roster.

“Every year in training camp is a battle,” Vincour said. “Nobody said it would be easy and nobody is going to training camp like they are going to make it.”

In his first professional season, the 20-year-old Czech native did make it to the NHL, appearing in 24 games and picking up one goal and one assist. The Stars called him up in early February due to injury issues and he played in 24 straight games, before sitting out the final five contests as a healthy scratch. When he was in the lineup he played both right wing and left wing and on various lines, including some time in the top six.

“It was a good experience for me, that’s for sure,” Vincour said of his two months in the NHL. “It’s given me some confidence now.”

And it provided some valuable experience as well for the 5th round pick (129th overall) in the 2009 NHL Draft.

“I learned you’ve got to be a two-way player. You’ve got to play good offense and even better defense,” Vincour said. “You have a lot of great players around you and you have to take advantage of it.”

He started the season in the AHL with the Texas Stars, where he had some ups and downs and finished with 12 points (5 goals, 7 assists) in the 44 games he played before getting called up to Dallas. There were lessons learned there as well.

“Vinny had some great experiences this year, both good and bad. Both should turn to good at some point,” said Les Jackson, Dallas Stars Director of Scouting and Player Development. “I think he’s like a lot of guys that come in. He didn’t know how much work had to be put in to be a player there (AHL) and he got behind the eight-ball a little bit at the start. He got the opportunity here, which worked well for him.”

The Stars believe the experiences Vincour went through last season – both the ups and the downs – should prepare him well for this season as he tries to get more NHL playing time.

“I think the light has come on for him. He knows he can play here, but there are detail parts of his game he has to be better at,” said Jackson. “He was lucky that he got a head start on the NHL career [last] year. Now that he’s seen it and sees how it works, it’s up to him to put the work in and stay here. “

Vincour knows that with the Stars’ offseason moves his road to the NHL has gotten tougher, but he said he’ll be ready when the team hits the ice in Prince Edward Island next month.

“I am going to have to be ready for training camp and I am going to prepare,” Vincour said. “You’ve got to go to [training camp] and earn the trust of the coach and the organization that they can believe in you on the ice. You have to show them that you are good enough to play in the NHL.”