Monday, January 23, 2012
Matt Fraser set to make NHL debut
By Mark Stepneski
FRISCO -- Tuesday night will be a big one for left wing Matt Fraser, who is expected to make his NHL debut when the Dallas Stars play the Anaheim Ducks at American Airlines Center.
“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous coming here,” Fraser said after Monday’s practice. “I’m going to enjoy the experience and once the game comes I am probably going to be a little bit nervous, but I am happy to be here.”
The Stars signed Fraser as a free agent out of the Western Hockey League last season. The 21-year-old has put up big numbers in the AHL this season, posting 21 goals in 40 games. He leads Texas in goal scoring and ranks fourth in the AHL.
“He’s a real attentive kid, he’s got a great shot and he’s in the [AHL] All-Star game there,” said Stars coach Glen Gulutzan. “He’s doing real well for himself, and he deserves the opportunity.”
Stars defenseman Philip Larsen, who played with Fraser in the AHL earlier this season, offered a scouting report on the 6-1, 207 pound forward.
“He has that ability to somehow, in a weird way, just find the net and score goals,” Larsen said. “He’s strong and good at protecting the puck. He has really good hands and finds ways to score goals. He’s a goal scorer.”
Fraser had a strong training camp and preseason with Dallas, scoring two goals in three games.
“Getting a little taste of that was a big boost for my confidence,” Fraser said. “It gives you a little bit of familiarity with being out there, for sure.”
During Monday’s practice he lined up at left wing with center Jake Dowell and right wing Tomas Vincour.
*Center Mike Ribeiro, who has missed the last seven games with a knee injury, was activated from injured reserve on Monday. Ribeiro practiced with the team Monday and if everything is fine after Tuesday morning’s skate, he should be a player against Anaheim Tuesday night.
*Captain Brenden Morrow was put on IR retroactive to January 21. He has a neck issue that will keep him out of Tuesday’s game, but he is expected back right after the All-Star break.
*Defenseman Stephane Robidas (foot) didn’t practice Monday, but he is expected to play Tuesday.
*Jamie Benn (appendectomy) skated on his own prior to Monday’s practice. He won’t play Tuesday, but he should be able to play in this weekend’s NHL All-Star game.