In sports, there is a nickname for everything. Today one of those names is being used in both Dallas and Winnipeg, as the Stars and Jets have recalled their “Black Aces.” This is a group of players from the minor and junior leagues that will come up to practice during and experience the NHL playoffs, without much of a chance to actually get into game action. It gives them a perspective on life at the highest level, while also allowing for time with NHL skills coaches. This time is often be called invaluable for young players, who get a taste of what it will take to get to and succeed at the NHL level.
Since the Texas Stars and Manitoba Moose both failed to qualify for the AHL playoffs, Dallas and Winnipeg have called up a large group of players. For Dallas, that group is as follows:
Among the group are several familiar names that have spent time at the NHL level, but Mascherin may be the most interesting member. Originally selected by the Florida Panthers in the second round (38th overall) of the 2016 draft, the scoring winger decided not to sign. He was subsequently drafted by the Stars in the fourth round (100th) last June, and started his professional career this season. It went pretty well, as Mascherin recorded 18 goals and 44 points in 75 games for Texas and actually tied for the team lead in +/- with a +10 rating.
For the Jets, the group will be made up of:
Again there are several names that have already made their NHL debuts, including Vesalainen who notably forced a short recall before exercising his European Assignment Clause to play in the KHL this season. The 19-year old is a big part of the future for the Jets but will need to find some stability in his development moving forward.
There is always a chance that a few of these players could be forced into action due to injury or poor play from someone on the NHL roster, but more likely they’ll spend the next few weeks soaking in a playoff run from the outside.