Star waiver says Marian Studenic is thrilled with a ‘fresh start’, no matter how long it takes
FRISCO – The Stars’ new toy will remain in its packaging for the time being.
New rookie Marian Studenic practiced with the Stars for the first time on Saturday afternoon, but won’t be on the roster for Sunday afternoon’s game against the Buffalo Sabres. Dallas claimed Studenic off waivers from New Jersey on Thursday afternoon.
“Scouts like his speed, and that’s what we saw today,” Stars coach Rick Bowness said. “He’s an excellent skater. As I spoke to him this morning, we are in a difficult position to try someone we haven’t seen play. We’ll have to give him some practice, give him some time on it and we’ll go from there.
Studenic, 23, is a left-handed winger who skated as an extra forward on Saturday morning. The 2017 fifth-round pick has two goals and one assist in 25 career NHL games. He shared this season between Utica, New Jersey’s AHL affiliate, and the NHL.
In order to make room for Studenic on the roster, the Stars waived Tanner Kero. When Kero cleared the waivers Friday, the Stars assigned him to AHL affiliate Texas. Texas is currently missing Riley Damiani, Nick Caamano and Josh Melnick through injuries.
Studenic said he arrived in Dallas Friday night.
“It’s always difficult on the first day,” Studenic said. “You meet a lot of new people, a lot of new names. You’re just going around and you’re trying to think, ‘Have I met this guy or not yet?’ It’s hard, but it’s going to get better and better, day by day.
Studenic is a no-risk acquisition by the Stars, a move that makes Dallas faster and younger. In the best-case scenario, he becomes a deep winger who can contribute consistently offensively. Worst-case scenario, he doesn’t make it and the Stars either waive him or offer him a qualifying offer in the offseason when he’s a restricted free agent.
Studenic, who will wear No. 43, has above average speed but lacked finishing ability.
“It will definitely be a new chapter in my life,” Studenic said. “I spent four years in Jersey. It’s new for me. It will be a new opportunity, a new beginning. I’m excited about this. … Speed is my biggest advantage. I like to compete, I’m not afraid to get into the net when I go on the wing trying to get into the net.
The easiest way for Studenic to work his way through the lineup will come on the fourth line with Jacob Peterson and Alexander Radulov. On Saturday, Riley Tufte skated on the left wing. Previously, Joel Kiviranta played there, before being eliminated healthy in Nashville on Thursday night.
“The position we’re trying to get in the hunt for the playoffs, it’s not fair for him to throw it out there and say, ‘Go play and see what we’ve got,'” Bowness said. “If it’s October, that’s a whole other conversation. Where we are now, he will have to be patient with us and give us time to watch him and involve him in team exercises.
Studenic has ties to the Stars organization, having been teammates with AHL players Caamano and Ben Gleason in Hamilton of the Ontario Hockey League. He also played for Slovakia in the World Championship in 2019, when Stars defender Andrej Sekera captained Slovakia.
“I know Andrej, we played the world championships together,” Studenic said. “He’s a great leader. He told me stuff right away, how it works here, what’s good in town. I’m glad he’s here, and it’s going to be a little easier for me.
Sekera back in training: Sekera returned to practice Saturday morning, joining the team for the first time since morning practice Feb. 15 in Colorado. Sekera is on long-term injured reserve with “a viral infection unrelated to COVID” but is eligible to return anytime as he has already missed 10 games and 24 days.
Sekera hasn’t played since Jan. 28 against Washington. He skated a fourth pair with Joel Hanley in practice Saturday morning. Bowness said Sekera would “need a few more practices” before playing in a match again.
Oettinger back: Bowness said Jake Oettinger will start Sunday against Buffalo. It will be his 10th start in the last 11 games.
Since being pulled from back-to-back starts against Florida and Montreal, Oettinger is 7-2-1 with a .940 save percentage and a 1.71 goals-against average.
Briefly: The Stars alumni will face the Red Wings alumni after the Sabers-Stars game. Fans in attendance for the Stars game can stay at the American Airlines Center to watch the Alumni game.
Here are the full rosters for both teams.
Find more Stars coverage from The Dallas Morning News here.