Dallas Stars free agency campaign were a big player, as General Manager Joe Nieuwendyk backed by Stars owner Tom Gaglardi certainly completely changed the look of this team with the free agent acquisitions of Jaromir Jagr and Ray Whitney and trade acquistions of Cody Eakin and Derek Roy, but how will the lines look this season, what the team might be missing, and who else might suit up in a Dallas Stars uniform this season:
Line 1: Eriksson Benn Jagr
After the Jagr deal was announced media members stated on a board in GM Joe Nieuwendyk’s office there was a board with these three names written on it, obviously if Jagr can do with Loui Eriksson and Jamie Benn what he did with Scott Hartnell and Claude Giroux last season with the Philadelphia Flyers then this line will be a big threat of size and skill.
Line 2: Whitney Roy Ryder
The remaining top offensive forwards will go to the second line where in Ray Whitney and Derek Roy you have guys who like to create plays and in Michael Ryder and once again Derek Roy who like to shoot the puck. The line is also a lot more capable of handling business on the defensive end of the ice, which is why Mike Ribeiro was dealt this offseason to have a better two way threat with his centers.
(Note: the third and fourth lines are complete speculation and how I would do the lines with the players left.)
Line 3: Morrow Fiddler Vincour
Vernon Fiddler, one of only two Stars to play all 82 games last season would center the third line once again, but with new linemates in captain Brenden Morrow and young Tomas Vincour. Fiddler would be looking to keep up the pesky play he brought last season and Brenden Morrow will be looking for a bounce back season and Tomas Vincour will get more ice time with this new opportunity.
Line 4: Nystrom Eakin Garbutt/Wandell
This fourth line would be a real bunch of hard-working blue collar types who will simply outwork their opponents and this way Cody Eakin is not pushed too fast and can develop into the center that Dallas wants him to be.
Now looking at this lineup I definitely see one thing, two way capability which is probably the big pledge of the Dallas Stars this offseason as all these lines you can be dependable in their own zones, but a big concern does jump out and that is size and toughness. As competitive and “Pesky” our bottom six forwards are they are a little on the small side. Just a couple of seasons ago the Dallas Stars were rolling out Brandon Segal, Brian Sutherby, and Krys Barch on thier fourth line, and certainly not the most talented bunch, they came in put hard bodychecks on their opponents and were willing and able to drop the gloves and fight when needed. Maybe the Dallas Stars are pulling a more Detroit Redwings look and going with more skill, but the past two Stanley Cup champions (Boston Bruins, Los Angeles Kings) would argue that as their bottom six groups include big grinding forwards like Dwight King and Kyle Clifford on Los Angeles, and forwards Shawn Thornton and Blake Wheeler on Boston as these forwards main objective were to bring energy to their teammates, but they also made big contributions offensively.
WHO YOU MIGHT SEE IN A STARS UNIFORM THIS SEASON:
Injuries happen and many prospects will be working hard for a spot on the roster this year who might make the cut or get called up if injuries do occur:
Colton Sceviour: one of the key players for the Texas Stars last season as he took big faceoffs and improved this physical play while still putting up great offensive numbers with 53 points (21g, 32a).
Luke Gazdic: The Texas tough guy certainly could be the answer to any problems of size and toughness as he has plenty of that, but he is not a one dimensional player who can just fight and hit, he can also provide some help in the offensive zone
Matt Fraser: If any injury should occur to any Dallas top six forwards they certainly have an option in Matt Fraser, in his first professional season Fraser was second in the AHL in goal scoring with 37 goals. A big knock on Fraser is his defensive zone play but hopefully his time in Austin has been good for him to work on that.
Scott Glennie: The Stars first round draft pick in 2009 finally got a taste of NHL competition last season and will realistically be looking NHL first this season as his strong performance in the second half of last season will make him a story to watch in training camp.
This post is just the forwards tomorrow we will look at the defenseman group for Dallas.