Swedish ElitserienSwedish Elitserien
Chris Neiszner (C) 2009-2010
Ethan Graham (D) 2009-2010
Matt Case (D) 2011-2012
Tom Wandell (C) 2012-2013
Chris Neiszner (C)
Stars Debut: October 17, 2009 at Houston
Stars Career Stats: 3 GP, 0 Points (0 Goals, 0 Assists), 2 PIMs
Chris Neiszner was the first player in Texas Stars history to wear the No. 21 jersey. The Craik, Saskatchewan native played four years of major junior hockey for the Red Deer Rebels of the WHL. Undrafted, Neiszner signed with the ECHL’s Las Vegas Wranglers as a free agent for the 2005-06 season and played for former Texas Stars head coach Glen Gulutzan. Neiszner earned AHL call-ups to the Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights in both the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons, but elected to go to Europe to play for Morzine-Avoriaz in France. He returned to Las Vegas for the 2008-09 season, where he had a career-best 20 goals and 41 points in 70 games.
Neiszner started the 2009-10 season with Las Vegas, but his connection with Gulutzan would reunite the two almost immediately. Just one day after playing in the Wranglers’ season opener against Utah, he was called up by Texas and signed to a PTO on October 17, 2009. Neiszner made his debut that night at Houston, officially becoming the first time the No. 21 jersey was worn for the Stars. He played in the next two games, both against Lake Erie and was then released from his PTO and sent back to Las Vegas.
After the Stars: Neiszner spent the rest of the 2009-10 season with Las Vegas, where he had 34 points (15 goals, 19 assists) in 65 games for the Wranglers. He retired from playing after that year, joining his former junior team, Red Deer, as an assistant coach for the 2010-11 season. After one year coaching with the Rebels, Neiszner started working for Hockey Alberta, where he has been for the last two years. Last season, 2012-13, he returned to the ice, playing Canadian senior hockey in Alberta for the Bentley Generals of the Chinook Hockey League (ChHL). Neiszner had 27 points (14 goals, 13 assists) in 16 games, helping Bentley win the 2013 Allan Cup, given annually to the national senior amateur men’s ice hockey champions of Canada.
Ethan Graham (D)
Stars Debut: February 19, 2010 at Toronto
Stars Career Stats: 15 GP, 3 Points (1 Goal, 2 Assists), 4 PIMs
Ethan Graham was the second player in Texas Stars history to wear the No. 21 jersey. The Xenia, Ohio native was undrafted after playing three years of junior hockey with the St. Louis Sting of the NAHL and the Lincoln Stars of the USHL and four years of NCAA Division I college hockey for Michigan State University of the CCHA. Graham turned pro in 2007-08, splitting his first season between the Iowa Stars and the Idaho Steelheads. The next year he played for the Charlotte Checkers of the ECHL and saw significant call-up time with the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack. Graham returned for his second season with Charlotte in 2009-10, but only player in 18 ECHL games for the Checkers, getting called-up to the Norfolk Admirals and the Milwaukee Admirals prior to his call-up to Texas.
Graham signed a PTO with the Stars on February 19, 2010 and he made his debut that night at Toronto. In his second game for Texas, two nights later, he had a goal and an assist in a 5-4 loss at Grand Rapids; it was the first multi-point game of his AHL career. Graham played in 15 games to close out the regular season, but did not play in the team’s first six post-season games. He made his Calder Cup Playoff debut in Game 3 of the West Division Finals on May 4, 2010 vs. Chicago. Graham played in three straight games, but did not dress for Games 6 or 7 against the Wolves or Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals against Hamilton. He returned to the lineup for Game 2 against the Bulldogs and did not miss another game. Arguable his biggest contribution of the 2010 Playoffs came in Game 3 on May 19, 2010 vs. Hamilton when Graham scored the game-winning goal at 2:13 of the first overtime to lift the Stars to a 5-4 victory over the Bulldogs. He scored another big goal against Hamilton in Game 7 on May 26, 2010. With the Stars trailing 2-0 at Copps Coliseum, Graham found the net at 14:38 of the second period, sparking a four-goal rally and a 4-2 win to advance to the Calder Cup Finals.
After the Stars: Graham started the 2010-11 season with Charlotte, his third consecutive year with the Checkers, but this time they had become an AHL franchise. He split the year between Charlotte and their ECHL affiliate, the Florida Everblades. Graham then went to Europe to play in Italy for Sportverein Ritten-Renon of the Serie A during the 2011-12 season, where he had 17 points (3 goals, 14 assists) in 40 games. He did not play anywhere during the 2012-13 season.
Matt Case (D)
Stars Debut: February 17, 2012 at San Antonio
Stars Career Stats: 9 GP, 0 Points (0 Goals, 0 Assists), 4 PIMs
Matt Case became the third player to wear No. 21 for Texas when he joined the team in the spring of 2012. The Plymouth, Minnesota native was undrafted after playing two years of junior hockey with the Fairbanks Ice Dogs of the NAHL and the Green Bay Gamblers of the USHL. He then skated four years of NCAA Division I college hockey for Ferris State University of the CCHA. Case made his pro debut at the conclusion of his senior season (2009-10) when he signed an ATO with the Norfolk Admirals. He started his first full pro year with the Gwinnett Gladiators of the ECHL, but switched mid-season to the Idaho Steelheads.
He returned to Idaho to start the 2011-12 season, which set the table for his call-up to Texas. Case was called up by the Stars and signed to a PTO on February 16, 2012 and he made his Texas debut the next night against San Antonio. He appeared in nine straight games for the Stars, recording no points and four penalty minutes. Case was released from his PTO on March 17, 2012 and sent back to the Steelheads, where stayed for the remainder of the 2011-12 season.
After the Stars: Case attended the 2012 Texas Stars training camp on a tryout contract and ended up in Idaho. He had a breakout year in Boise, scoring 39 points (6 goals, 33 assists) in 62 games for the Steelheads and earned a five-game AHL call-up with the Manchester Monarchs in late February. Case finished the regular season ranked third in the ECHL amongst defenseman in points and tied for third in assists. He played in all 17 playoff games for Idaho as they reached the Western Conference Finals, but lost to Stockton in five games. After being eliminated from the 2013 Kelly Cup Playoffs, Case signed an AHL contract with the Providence Bruins on May 17, 2013. However, he did not make his Calder Cup Playoff debut in any of the four games he was with the Bruins during the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Providence was eliminated by the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in seven games.
Tom Wandell (C)
Stars Debut: February 20, 2013 at Rochester
Stars Career Stats: 11 GP, 4 Points (0 Goals, 4 Assists), 4 PIMs
Tom Wandell became the most recent player to wear No. 21 for Texas when he was sent to the Stars on a conditioning assignment from Dallas on February 18, 2013. The Sodertalje, Sweden native had not played in the AHL since the 2007-08 season, his first in North America, when he suited up for the Iowa Stars. Wandell was drafted by Dallas in the fifth round (146th overall) of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft and made his NHL debut with Dallas on December 10, 2008 vs. Phoenix. After a four game stint with the Stars, he returned to Timra IK of the Swedish Elitserien to complete their season and then came back to Dallas for the final 10 games of the 2008-09 season. The next three seasons Wandell played as a regular with Dallas, appearing in 197 NHL games during that span. Due to the NHL Lockout last year, he started the 2012-13 season in the KHL with Severstal Cherepovets, returning to Dallas after the lockout ended.
On February 18, 2013 Wandell was assigned to Texas on a two-week conditioning loan and he made his Texas Stars debut on February 20, 2013 at Rochester. He piled up four assists in his first three games, helping to lead Texas to road wins over the Americans and the Lake Erie Monsters. Wandell was recalled from his conditioning loan on March 1, 2013 and, after going through NHL waivers, was assigned outright to Texas. He played in a total of 11 AHL games for the Stars, missing five due to injury and then at the NHL trade deadline was recalled to Dallas on April 2, 2013.
After the Stars: Wandell finished the 2012-13 season in the NHL with Dallas. He was an unrestricted free-agent at the end of the year and he chose to leave North America to sign with Spartak Moscow in the KHL.