The Dallas Stars returned forward Riley Tufte to their AHL affiliate, the Texas Stars, the team said in a release today.
Dallas summoned Tufte from the minors following Joe Pavelski’s injury in Game 1, giving him some time on the NHL roster during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Head coach Peter DeBoer didn’t insert Tufte into the lineup over the course of four games, however. With Pavelski’s health improving, Dallas has opted to return Tufte to the minors.
The move comes at a natural time for the Stars organization as well. With the Texas Stars finishing high enough in the Central Division to earn a bye past the first round of the Calder Cup Playoffs, the AHL Stars begin their playoff run on Friday against the Rockford IceHogs. Tufte will be an important middle-six presence for Texas in the playoffs, contributing 35 points in 63 games this season and finishing second among Texas forwards with a +23 rating.
Time is ticking away on the NHL future for the 25-year-old Minnesota native, especially given his first-round billing, but he does play a bruising, power-forward game that translates well enough to Dallas’ bottom six in call-up situations. If Dallas’ season lasts longer than their affiliate, expect Tufte to once again be recalled as part of a complement of Black Aces.