Texas’s Laxdal heading to Dallas

Photo: Andy Nietupski

The Dallas Stars today appointed Texas Stars head coach Derek Laxdal as an assistant coach for the NHL club. Additionally, Texas assistant coach Neil Graham will assume the position of head coach for the Texas Stars, with Travis Morin serving as the AHL team’s new assistant coach.

Laxdal, 53, had served as Texas’s head coach since July 3, 2014. In five-plus seasons, he led the Stars to a 198-152-55 record, including a trip to the 2018 Calder Cup Finals. He has been instrumental in the development of many current Dallas Stars players including Esa Lindell, Roope Hintz, Jason Dickinson, Justin Dowling and Denis Gurianov.

As a player, Laxdal played 356 AHL games and won a Calder Cup with the Springfield Indians in 1990. He also spent parts of six seasons with Toronto and the New York Islanders, skating in 67 career NHL contests.

Graham, 34, is in his first season with the Texas Stars after being named an assistant coach prior to the start of the 2019-20 season. He becomes the second-youngest head coach currently in the AHL, behind Charlotte’s Ryan Warsofsky.

Before joining the Stars, Graham spent four seasons (2015-19) as head coach of the Idaho Steelheads (ECHL), amassing a regular-season record of 166-91-31 and guiding the team to four postseason appearances. Graham was an assistant coach with Idaho from 2013-15 and served as a player/assistant in 2012-13.

A native of Calgary, Alta., Graham played four years at Mercyhurst College before turning pro in 2010.

Morin, 35, announced his retirement on July 31, 2019, after 12 professional seasons, including 10 with the Stars. He joined the organization before Texas’s inaugural season in 2009 and went on to collect 175 goals, 385 assists and 560 points for the club, helping them to three Calder Cup Finals appearances and the 2014 championship. Morin’s 686 regular-season games played for Texas place him eighth all-time in games for any single AHL franchise.

Morin had one of the most decorated seasons in AHL history in 2013-14. After representing Texas in the AHL All-Star Classic, a showcase event against Farjestad BK of the Swedish Hockey League, Morin went on to win the league scoring title and regular-season MVP honors before leading the Stars to the Calder Cup title and capturing the league’s playoff MVP award as well.

The native of Brooklyn Park, Minn., served as Stars captain from 2015-17, and led the team in scoring five times.