FRISCO, Texas – The Dallas Stars of the National Hockey League announced that they have made qualifying offers to former Idaho goaltender Dan Ellis (pictured) and former Lexington goaltender Mike Smith.
The Idaho Steelheads are the ECHL affiliate of Dallas of the NHL and the Iowa Stars of the American Hockey League.
In his first professional season in 2003-04, Ellis was named the Most Valuable Player of the Kelly Cup Finals after leading the postseason with 13 wins and three shutouts. He was 4-1 with a shutout, a goals-against average of 1.95 and a save percentage of .933 in the Finals as Idaho won the ECHL title in its inaugural season. Ellis was 13-8-1 with a goals-against average of 2.56 and a save percentage of .909 in 23 regular season games with Idaho and was selected to the 2004 ECHL All-Star Game. He also played for Utah of the AHL where he was 5-14-0 with a goals-against average of 2.92 and a save percentage of .909 in 20 games.
In his first professional season in 2002-03, Smith was named to the ECHL All-Star Game and was 11-10-4 with a goals-against average of 2.55 and a save percentage of .910 in 27 games with Lexington and was 5-5-0 with a goals-against average of 3.23 and a save percentage of .906 in 11 games with Utah of the AHL. He spent 2003-04 with Utah of the AHL and was 8-11-0 with a goals-against average of 2.83 and a save percentage of .908 in 21 games while also spending time in the NHL as the backup for Dallas.
In his third professional start on October 22, 2002, Smith picked up not only his first win and his first shutout, but also scored his first-ever goal in a 2-0 win over Dayton. With Lexington leading 1-0 late in the third period, Dayton dumped the puck behind the net where Smith gained control and flipped it out of the zone. The puck hit in the center face off circle and then slid untouched into the empty net at 19:04. The goal by the then 20-year-old Smith, who is the youngest goaltender ever to score a goal in a professional game, was featured on ESPN’s NHL 2Night.