Free agent invites trying to make strong first impression at Texas Stars training camp

(Photo by Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)

(Photo by Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)

CEDAR PARK — First impressions can make all the difference.

And, in some cases, the cliché rings true — first impressions are the only impressions.

That was the message to free agent invitees during the first day of Texas Stars training camp Tuesday at Cedar Park Center.

“We had a meeting last night and we talked about first impressions to the staff,” Stars coach Derek Laxdal said. “First impressions make a lasting mark on us. Going forward, we know the schedule is such a grind. If you can break the lineup and stay and make name for yourself, great. If you end up going back to your ECHL club, we know what we’re looking for when we want to call a player up … you make that name for yourself, it’s an easy call.”

Colton Beck, Brandon Magee, Taylor Stefishen, Cole Martin, Anrew Panzarella, Mads Eller, and Jake Rutt are amongst the group on a tryout basis in camp. Cam Braes and Zack Kamrass are in similar situations, even with AHL contracts, since depth signals they could be headed to the ECHL.

There was more space to make a first impression Tuesday.

A handful of players that were recently sent to Texas from the Dallas Stars were given the day off after a “hectic schedule” the past two weeks.

“If you look at the players that have come from Traverse City and the Dallas camp, they’re obviously ahead of some of the free agent invites,” Laxdal said. “So first day is more of getting used to the equipment. And getting used to the ice (for the others).”

Laxdal also said it’s important to see fringe players in game situations to properly judge their ability.

That opportunity will present itself in a scrimmage tomorrow, while Laxdal said some of the free agent invites will play in one of the two preseason games this weekend against the San Antonio Rampage.

While Laxdal will be using the preseason game to scout organizational depth, Idaho Steelheads coach Neil Graham is looking at the groundwork for his team.

“It’s going to be good to see some of the guys (in the preseason game),” Graham said. “There’s potential of getting a few of them in Idaho. Right now, everyone’s goal and objective is to make the Texas Stars, and if guys get to sent to us we’ll talk to them then. But, I’m excited to see guys compete, work on both sides of the puck, battle, and play the game the right way.”

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