Q: I really enjoyed watching Ryan Stokes this past season. I thought he made some good passes, he was tough, and was a smart stay at home defenseman. I would like to know what your plans are for him in the Aeros’ system? I think he’s made promising developments in his game since his days playing junior for the IceDogs and hope to further see him progress his game. Are you planning on re-signing him?
Bubba from St. Paul, Minn.
TL: Ryan is under contract for this coming season, and will be back in Houston to try to toughen a defense that should be high on skill with Curtis Murphy, rookie Paul Albers and potentially Peter Ratchuk on the blueline. Ryan’s ability to play a solid defensive role and do so with a physical edge will determine how much and where he fits in as the season progresses.
Q: I work at the Downtown Courtyard by Marriott, so I have a tendency to hear things that may or may not be true about what will be going on with the AHL/NHL. My question is, are the rumors that have been going around true that Houston is trying to get a NHL franchise?
Steve from Houston
TL: I recall a Houston Chronicle article from last season in which Les Alexander publicly stated that he would welcome an NHL team to Toyota Center under the right circumstances, so it is probably more of a fact than a rumor. The key is the “right circumstances” – it has to work for both the Toyota Center and the prospective team. No team I know of is actively looking to move right now, so the issue is probably not imminent.