TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — A week ago, Mattias Janmark was a bit of an unknown entity in the Dallas Stars prospect pool.
After four games at the Prospects Tournament here in Northern Michigan, that cloud of secrecy around Janmark has been lifted.
“I think he’s been very good,” Dallas general manager Jim Nill said. “It’s our first chance for a lot of our people to really see him play. He was involved in the trade, so it gives him a chance to know the organization.”
Janmark, along with Mattias Backman, was part of the trade that sent Erik Cole to the Detroit Red Wings last season. Janmark was playing with Frolunda HC in Sweden when the deal was processed.
“It was a surprise to me,” Janmark said of the trade, and added Dallas defenseman John Klingberg texted him after the deal went through.
After a 36-point season with Frolunda he arrived for one playoff game with the Texas Stars against the Rockford IceHogs. But, he wasn’t able to truly play his game after a trans-Atlantic flight from Sweden.
“I still had to adjust to the smaller rink,” he said.
With a bit less jet-lag, and as one of the older players, Janmark was one of Dallas’ best forwards this week in Traverse City.
He had two goals and four assists in the tournament to lead all Stars, including a three-point night against his former organization when Dallas fell to Detroit on Monday.
“It’s a different game here than in Sweden,” Janmark said. “It’s a bit more of a puck-possession game in Sweden … you get a bit less time here, so you have to be able to find the game to get space.”
It’s one thing to find space against 19 and 20-year-old prospects. Now, Janmark has to impress against real professionals when Dallas opens training camp on Friday morning at Cedar Park Center.
Nill said that’ll give him a chance to get a “better feel” about Janmark, and will help determine where the Swede is going to play this season.
While he’s already played a handful of games in Sweden as part of the Champions Hockey League, Nill said Janmark could come over to North America if he impresses enough in training camp.
“We’re going to play it by ear. If he’s close to knocking on the (NHL) door, that’s something we’ll discuss,” Nill said. “We’ve told him if it’s between the American League and Sweden, he’ll go back to Sweden — that’s his preference. He’s a big part of their team back there.”