The Stars made some interesting roster moves yesterday.
Youngsters James Neal and Mark Fistric were sent down to the NHL, while free agent forward Mark Parrish was signed to a one-year deal.
I expected Fistric to see some AHL time this year simply because the blue-line in Dallas is over-crowded. Out of Sergei Zubov, who is still out with an injury, Phillipe Boucher, Stephane Robidas, Trevor Daley, Matt Niskanen, Nicklas Grossman, Fistric, Doug Janik, and Garrett Stafford, it's hard to figure out who deserves an NHL spot the most.
I guess Doug Janik will get some NHL time until Zubov returns from injured reserve.
Also interesting will be how Mark Parrish can perform in place of Neal, and where he'll end up fitting on the team. My hope? That Parrish can accept more of a depth role to allow Fabian Brunnstrom to get more ice time, while still playing a productive game.
Here's some potential lines now, with Parrish in the system;
Another option, if the Stars really want to get experimental;
The third way I would put together lines might turn out like this;
Obviously, these aren't the only line combinations that could work. There are dozens of ways the Stars could slip Parrish into the line-up, not to mention that they've been changing up lines every few games anyways.
Focusing on Neal, I think the assignment to Manitoba could actually be beneficial. Although his production largely slowed down because the Stars as a whole slowed down, I still think he has a few things to learn in the game, and perhaps the mentoring of Mike Keane, who's played with Vancouver young guys Jannik Hansen, Mason Raymond, Rick Rypien, and others. It'll allow him to show his full potential in a full AHL season, while at the same time, he'll be the obvious choice for a call-up if a forward gets injured.
Hopefully, this whole shake-up will turn out beneficial for the Stars, who need to start winning NOW.