4.05.2009

Climie's Debut A Win; Looking Towards the Future

Well, there’s nothing like seeing the newest Stars rookie get a win in his NHL debut.

Matt Climie was in net for Dallas yesterday when they played the St. Louis Blues. Although he let in a few goals that he certainly would like to get back, I’m sure he’s pleased with the 5-4 OT win.

Climie was supported very well by a Stars defense who was quick to knock away rebounds and block key shots. Had Brad Boyes had his way, the game would likely have finished with a score of 6-5 or higher.

But thanks to the efforts of Loui Eriksson, who scored twice, Mike Ribeiro and Steve Ott, each with a goal, and Trevor Daley, who clinched the game in overtime.

Tom Wandell got his first two NHL assists and proved that he’s ready for at least the AHL, if not the NHL. He was a strong presence for the Stars throughout the game.

James Neal continued to show why he’s one of the top rookies in the NHL. Despite not scoring a goal, he managed an assist on Eriksson’s second goal and had several huge hits that drew cheers from the crowd.

A worrying note for Stars fans were the words of Mike Modano after the game:
The 38-year-old Modano said was unsure whether he’ll be back for his 21st season with the Stars. “I don’t know if it’s my last home game ever,” Modano said. “It crossed my mind. I’m too aggravated right now to make that decision. I’ll spend a long month on the beach and make a rational decision about what’s next.” (nhl.com game recap)
Modano certainly has enough credentials to retire respectably. He’s the top scoring American in the NHL ever, and despite a rough season, he’s managed 15 goals and 46 points in 77 games so far.

Although the Stars have officially been eliminated from playoff contention, they can use their last three games to get a look at how ready their young prospects are for the NHL. Climie will most likely get at least one more start because the Stars should let Marty Turco rest. Defenseman Ivan Vishnevskiy was called up from Peoria and will likely see action in the final three games of the year while one of the non-injured veterans takes a break. The Stars could also bring up Jamie Benn for a few games and see how much longer he’ll need to develop in the AHL. Tom Wandell will also probably see action in the final 3 games.

If all turns out well, the Stars will draft either 8th or 9th. According to the three mock drafts NHL.com writers Brad Holland, Shawn P. Roarke, and Adam Kimmelman, the Stars should pick either Jacob Josefsen, a Mike Modano-type, Zack Kassian, a Brenden Morrow-type, or Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson, a speedy Swedish winger.

My personal favorite would be Paajarvi-Svensson. The Stars could use some speed on the wing, and fellow Swede Fabian Brunnstrom could be a good mentor once he himself is accustomed to the NHL. Plus, you can’t go wrong with two last names.

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