By John Tranchina
By the time they reach the age of 25, conventional wisdom dictates that most NHL prospects should have already established themselves with the big club if they’re ever going to, but there are plenty of cases where some late bloomers take a little longer to develop and eventually evolve into valuable players at the big-league level.
The Dallas Stars still believe that Francis Wathierbelongs in the latter category. At 25 and completing his fifth minor league season in the organization, the burly left winger has excelled for the Texas Stars, helping the AHL club based in the Austin suburb of Cedar Park reach the Calder Cup Finals.
Following a Game 1 victory on the road in Hershey Thursday night, the Stars lead the best-of-seven series 1-0 against the defending champions.
Even though he missed giant chunks of time due to injuries in two of his five pro seasons, Wathier has still demonstrated steady progress over the last couple of years, culminating in an outstanding 2009-10 performance.