Denis Gurianov suffered an upper-body injury in the Stars 5-1 loss in Winnipeg on Tuesday. He did not skate at practice on Thursday and is considered “day-to-day” according to Dallas Head Coach Pete DeBoer. With the injury, recent call-up Matej Blumel seems destined to make his NHL debut on Friday against the San Jose Sharks.
“I have,” Blumel said when asked if he has thought about making his debut. “First time I got called up, I thought about it a lot. Maybe that was a bad thing. Now I don’t really think about it. "If I am going to be in the lineup tomorrow, I don’t know. I hope so. If I’ll be in, it’s going to be the best day of my life for sure, and I am just going to enjoy it.”
Blumel was getting close to his debut when he was first called up after dominating for the Texas Stars in the AHL. The 22-year-old forward tallied five goals in the first four games after impressing at both the Traverse City Prospect Tournament and Stars Training Camp before the season began. It’s been an up-and-down journey since signing with Dallas in the summer.
Blumel did not play in his time with Dallas and because of Jake Oettinger’s injury and the extremely tight Dallas salary cap situation, he was sent back down so the club could call up goaltender Matt Murray to backup Scott Wedgewood.
How has he handled the complicated situation?
“I mean, it’s fun. That’s the first thing,” he said. You never know what you’re doing the next day. I was up here two weeks ago, then I got sent back down to Austin. But I didn’t mind it because I wanted to play, because I didn’t get a chance to play here. I wanted to go back there and show that I deserved a chance and I am happy to be back here.”
“Like everyone, his dream is to play in the NHL, Stars Head Coach Pete DeBoer said on Thursday. "So I don’t think they look at it in any type of negative light. There is just genuine excitement to be here. With the opportunity to potentially play, that’s what you grow up waiting for. I find with young players, the noise of the up-down, in-out doesn't bother them at all, they just want a chance to play.”
Now with Oettinger's return, Blumel is back in Dallas and hoping to get his shot this time around.
“It is, for sure, he said when asked about the tricky situation. "From hotel room to hotel room," he joked. "I spend more time in hotels than my apartment in Austin. But I don’t mind it, I just want to be here. If I am here and at the hotel, I am very excited to be here and spend every day.”
“There’s a chance, yup," DeBoer said about Blumel entering the lineup on Friday. "That’s what he’s here for. We will get up tomorrow morning and evaluate the entire roster and then make some decisions."