FRISCO – Former Michigan Tech forward Joel L’Esperance has signed a two-year, entry-level NHL contract with the Dallas Stars, General Manager Jim Nill announced on July 1.
L’Esperance, a native of Brighton, Michigan, played four seasons for the Huskies, appearing in 152 career games. He was an alternate captain last season and finished with 98 career points, racking up over 25 points in each of his final three seasons. He received the Gary Crosby Memorial Award as the team’s top scorer as a junior after tallying 28 points on 11 goals and 17 assists. As senior, he was fourth on the team with 27 points on 12 goals and 15 assists. He had a career-high 16 goals as a sophomore, finishing with 26 points after putting up 17 points (7G-10A) as a rookie.
L’Esperance signed an amateur tryout agreement on March 28 with the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League after wrapping up his senior season for the Huskies. He played nine regular-season AHL games before appearing in 22 playoff games in a run to Game 7 of the Calder Cup Playoff Final. He had six total points with a goal and three assists in the postseason.
L’Esperance was named to the 2017 Ice Breaker Invitational All-Tournament Team after he scored a pair of goals in the semifinal win over No. 16 Union on October 6, including the game-winner. L’Esperance had seven multi-point games last season and 21 for his career. He had a season-high three points after scoring a goal and adding a pair of assists in Tech’s WCHA Quarterfinal clinching game at Bemidji State on March 3, 2018.
L’Esperance had nine points (4G-5A) in seven playoff games last season, scoring in the WCHA Championship Game for the second year in a row. In 20 career playoff games, he had 23 points on 10 goals and 13 assists while finding the scoresheet in all three NCAA games with two assists and a goal.
L’Esperance was a member of a senior class that won 97 games—the most since the 1984 class. The class was the first since 1978 to have a winning record all four seasons. They took the Huskies to three NCAA Tournaments, won a pair of WCHA Tournament Titles, won the MacNaughton Cup as WCHA regular season champs as sophomores, and were ranked the No. 1 team in the nation in 2014-15 after a program-best 10-0 start. They also won the Desert Hockey Classic in 2015-16 and the Ice Breaker Championship as seniors.
Before his career at Tech, L’Esperance played two seasons in the USHL. He spent the first half of 2013-14 with the Tri-City Storm, compiling 34 points (21G-13A) in 35 games before joining the Sioux City Musketeers. He had 14 points (6G-8A) in 25 games in Sioux City during the regular season and then helped the team to the USHL Western Conference Finals. He played for Compuware before joining Tri-City.
The 6-foot-2, 208-pound forward was undrafted and attended the Anaheim Ducks Development Camp in 2016.