When it comes to dealing with the American Hockey League’s veteran rule, Texas Stars coach Willie Desjardins is approaching it like a baseball manager — going with a rotation.
“Right now, we’ve got a three-guy rotation and we might go more if that problem persists,” Desjardins said. “As a coach and as a staff we weren’t prepared to say one guy is more important than another. They all contribute in different ways on and off the ice.”
Toby Petersen, Maxime Fortunus and Francis Wathier have been alternating as healthy scratches due to the veteran rule, which reads on the AHL site as follows:
Of the 18 skaters (not counting two goaltenders) that teams may dress for a regular-season game, at least 13 must be qualified as “development players.” Of those 13, 12 must have played in 260 or fewer professional games (including AHL, NHL, IHL and European elite leagues), and one must have played in 320 or fewer professional games. All calculations for development status are based on regular-season totals as of the start of the season.
So how did we get here? Before the season started it was expected Texas would only have six players that would qualify for vet status, but Aaron Rome’s assignment back to Texas put the Stars above that threshold.
“It’s kind of a situation that kind of surprised everybody a little bit,” Fortunus said. “But it happened the same way it happens to every team. We’re not going to call the league and complain, if we have to alternate we’ll make it work.”
Creating the “scratch rotation” for Texas wasn’t too difficult, frankly. Travis Morin and Colton Sceviour have been two of Texas’ top offensive threats, while Chris Mueller and Rome are both expected to play more minutes as potential call-ups to the Dallas Stars.
Despite being scratched every third game for the time being, all three players said they understood and have accepted Desjardins decision.
“We had a meeting about it, obviously he doesn’t want to make that decision,” Wathier said. “Me, Toby and Max have been around for a long time and we’ve dedicated years in Texas. So he’s having a hard time with that. But we know it’s not his fault, hopefully it gets better in a few weeks or a few days.”