Raymond Sawada (RW) 2009-2012
Shawn Weller (LW) 2011-2012
Taylor Vause (C) 2012-2013
Raymond Sawada (RW)
Richmond, British Columbia
Stars Debut: November 6, 2009 vs. Manitoba
Stars Career Stats: 143 GP, 64 Points (25 Goals, 39 Assists), 202 PIMs
Thirteen is a very special number. Many people hold a negative superstition to the prime number, particularly the scary Friday the 13th, while some feel it holds an incredible amount of luck. Right wing Raymond Sawada was the first player in Texas Stars history to wear the contentious integer when he first stepped on the Cedar Park Center ice in the fall of 2009. Drafted by the Dallas Stars in the second round (52nd overall) of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, the Richmond, British Columbia native chose to attend Cornell University of the ECAC. At the end of his senior season (2007-08) he joined the Iowa Stars for the final 10 games of the year. Dallas and Iowa ended their affiliate, thus Sawada went to the Manitoba Moose, along with fellow Stars prospects Maxime Fortunus, Mark Fistric and James Neal. Sawada appeared in 52 games for Manitoba and earned his first career NHL call-up when he made his debut for Dallas on February 19, 2009, his 24th birthday, and scored his first NHL goal on his first shot vs. Edmonton. Sawada helped the Moose reach the 2009 Calder Cup Finals, but lost to Hershey in six games.
Just one year into his three-year entry level contract with Dallas, Sawada joined the organization’s new AHL affiliate, the Texas Stars for the inaugural 2009-10 campaign. He missed the first month of the regular season, making his Texas debut on November 5, 2009 coincidentally against his old team, Manitoba. Sawada had 19 points (8 goals, 11 assists) and 92 penalty minutes in 60 games for the Stars, while he also earned five more NHL games with Dallas that year. He scored his first goal for Texas on November 25, 2009 vs. Milwaukee, but perhaps his biggest goal came in the opening game of the 2010 Calder Cup Playoffs, when he scored the game-winning goal to beat Rockford 2-1 in Game 1 of the West Division Semifinals. Sawada helped the Stars make a magical run to the 2010 Calder Cup Finals, but suffered the ultimate déjà vu when he lost to Hershey in six games for the second consecutive year.
Sawada had his best offensive year for Texas in the 2010-11 season, scoring 29 points (11 goals, 18 assists) and 91 penalty minutes in 57 games, then led the team in assists (5) and was second in points (6) during the 2011 playoffs. He returned for the 2011-12 season, but was traded to the St. John’s IceCaps on March 2, 2012 in a deal that brought Michael Forney and Shawn Weller to Texas. Sawada appeared in 143 regular season games for Texas, registering 64 points (25 goals, 39 assists) and 202 penalty minutes. He ranks fourth on the Stars all-time list for penalty minutes and is 11th in both games played and points.
After the Stars: Following the trade, Sawada made his St. John’s debut on March 4, 2012 at Binghamton. He played in the final 17 games of the regular season and helped the IceCaps make a deep run in the playoffs, losing out to the eventual champion Norfolk Admirals in the Eastern Conference Finals in four games. Last year Sawada remained with the IceCaps, setting a new career-high with 13 goals and equaling his career-best 29 points in 65 games played.
Shawn Weller (LW)
Glens Falls, New York
Stars Debut: December 17, 2011 vs. Rochester
Stars Career Stats: 18 GP, 3 Points (2 Goals, 1 Assist), 6 PIMs
Shawn Weller came to Texas in the AHL trade between Dallas and Winnipeg that sent Raymond Sawada to the St. John’s IceCaps, so it was fitting that the Stars gave him Sawada’s vacant No. 13 jersey when he arrived in Cedar Park. The Glens Falls, New York native was drafted by the Ottawa Senators in the third round of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft and he attended Clarkson University of the ECAC. After three years with the Golden Knights, Weller turned pro and joined the Binghamton Senators, Ottawa’s AHL affiliate. He appeared in 273 AHL games over the next four and a half seasons with Binghamton, Abbotsford, Manitoba and St. John’s, along with 52 ECHL games for Elmira and Bakersfield.
Weller made his Texas Stars debut on March 7, 2012 vs. Grand Rapids. He scored his first goal for Texas on March 17, 2012 vs. Oklahoma City and added another goal on April 4, 2012 at Grand Rapids. In all, Weller appeared in 18 games for the Stars and had three points (2 goals, 1 assist) and six penalty minutes.
After the Stars: Weller began the 2012-13 season with the South Carolina Stingrays of the ECHL. He played three games for St. John’s on an AHL call-up and was traded by South Carolina to the Stockton Thunder on January 25, 2013. Weller finished the season with Stockton, putting up 17 points (5 goals, 12 assists) in 19 regular season games and then registering 11 points (8 goals, 3 assists) in 23 playoff games as he helped the Thunder reach the 2013 Kelly Cup Finals, but lost to the Reading Royals in five games.
Taylor Vause (C)
Stars Debut: October 13, 2012 at San Antonio
Stars Career Stats: 47 GP, 11 Points (1 Goal, 10 Assists), 40 PIMs
Taylor Vause was undrafted out of the Western Hockey League where he played parts of five seasons for the Swift Current Broncos. He made his Stars debut during the tail end of the 2011-12 season wearing No. 19. With veteran forward Toby Petersen joining Texas for the 2012-13 campaign, Vause had to choose a different number to wear. The Calgary, Alberta native selected lucky 13 and made his season debut in the new number on October 14, 2012 vs. Charlotte.
Vause struggled to get playing time during the first two months of the year thanks to the roster overflow due to the NHL lockout. However, he was never sent down to Idaho and his persistence paid off. He scored his first goal of the season on December 14th at Abbotsford, the game-winning goal in a 3-1 road victory over the then first place Heat. He had the first multi-point game of his pro career when he registered a goal and an assist on January 18th in a 6-4 win at Chicago. Vause’s best offensive stretch of the regular season came in March where he put up five points (2 goals, 3 assists) in three games. He had an assist on March 22nd vs. Rochester and then potted two goals the next night vs. Charlotte for the first multi-goal game of his pro career. Vause then extended his point streak to three games with two assists on March 26th at Houston. He finished the season with 17 points (4 goals, 13 assists) in 55 games, while also making his pro post-season debut, appearing in three games for Texas during the 2013 Calder Cup Playoffs.