Tomas Vincour knocking on the door

Dallas Stars coach Marc Crawford caught a Western Hockey League playoff game last season and took note of forward Tomas Vincour, the team’s 5th round pick (129th overall) in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.

“I remember calling Joe [Nieuwendyk] after the game and saying, ‘Joe, this kid is really, really smart,’“ Crawford said.

Crawford’s now getting a nice long look at the 19-year-old Vincour, who is one of the 28 remaining players on the Dallas Stars roster. The Czech native, who signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Stars last March, is embarking on his professional career this season.

“I think he’s finding the transition probably easier than a lot of young kids coming out of juniors because he is so intelligent,” said Crawford.

Vincour said the jump to the professional level from juniors has been adjustment, but the more he plays the more he learns.

“I’ve got to play three [preseason] games and that’s helped to get used to the speed of the [NHL] game,” he said. “It’s hard to score. The defensemen are big, strong and so is everybody else on the ice. If you want to score goals you have to work hard every day, get stronger and faster. It’s a good challenge and I am a guy who wants a challenge.”

Vincour, who scored 29 goals in 57 games playing for both Edmonton and Vancouver in the WHL last season, has picked up three assists in those three preseason games for the Stars, tying him for the team lead in points.

“I am getting more confidence on the ice every day and I am getting a chance to play with great hockey players,” Vincour said after Wednesday’s practice in Frisco.

Thursday night Vincour will play in his fourth preseason game this year and he’s expected to skate on a line with Jamie Benn and Steve Ott.

“That’s unbelievable,” said Vincour. “Those are the two best players I’ve ever played with. I am just going to try to do my best and find chemistry with them.”

Vincour came to North America as a 16-year-old to pursue his dream of playing in the NHL, suiting up for the Edmonton Oil Kings of the WHL for two-and-a-half seasons before getting traded to the Vancouver Giants in the middle of last season.

He’s expected to start his pro career with the Texas Stars of the AHL, but he’s not far away from becoming an NHL player.

“He’s always in the right place. He’s got great instincts. He’s also got good puck protection skills. He’s also got a very good shot,” said Crawford. “The question is can he handle the impact of NHL bodies, can he get his game and his intensity at the level that it can be. For me there’s no doubt he’s going to play, it’s just how soon. We’re very excited about Tomas. He’s a very bright prospect for the Dallas Stars.”