There is good news for the Dallas Stars, which means there could be good news for one of the other 30 teams in the National Hockey.
Dallas will be able to count on the return of veteran forward Martin Hanzal as the 31-year-old centre could play as early as Friday against San Jose, coach Jim Montgomery said. Hanzal, who was recovering from this third back surgery, has not played since March, but finally received clearance from the doctors.
"We got really good news there," Montgomery said. "He's cleared. We think he's going to be a player, but I'm not going to say 100 percent because you never know what happens in Thursday's practice. He had a big smile on his face today, and I guess he knocked a few people over in the game."
As Hanzal will be a welcomed addition, it means that the Stars needed to let go of another centre, and on Wednesday, the Stars placed young forward Gemel Smith on waivers.
The 24-year-old forward has been a healthy scratch in six of the last seven games. When he was part of the lineup, he played only 3:25 and none of the final 26:04. He is averaging a team-low 8:01 of ice time per game, and is a pending restricted free agent with a $720,000 cap hit. He could be an attractive option to other teams because of his age and his speed on the ice.
Last season, Smith had six goals and five assists in 46 games last season. His six goals came on 42 shots. So far this year, the forward has put up two goals and a total of three points in 14 contests.