9.20.2009

Pre-season writings

So, I realize that I'm still incredibly inconsistent with my posting, to the point where I missed the start of the pre-season. However, this time I'll set a date for my full return: Dallas' season opening game.

For now, though, let's take a look at what the Stars have been up to relating to training camp and how their roster is shaping up:


Roster Spots:
The Stars retained most of their roster from last season, and with a few players returning from injury, the majority of their lines will be filled.

Offense
Up front, expect to see Brenden Morrow, Mike Ribeiro, Jere Lehtinen, James Neal, Brad Richards, Loui Eriksson, Steve Ott, Mike Modano, Fabian Brunnstrom, Brian Sutherby, Toby Petersen, and Krys Barch as the regular forwards. They each performed their jobs well, and were sorely missed when injured. The only holes in the lineup would be from injuries.
However, the Stars do have several players on the verge of joining the team. Jamie Benn is the next pure scorer for Dallas, and he proved it by scoring two goals in a recent pre-season win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Ray Sawada is another candidate for cracking the lineup, although more as a grinder/checking player with a bit of offensive flair. He might be carried as the 13th forward for the team.

Defense
On the blue-line, the Stars look a little uncertain. Losing the mentorship of Darryl Sydor and Sergei Zubov was a tough blow, and Karlis Skrastins will be hard-pressed to make up for some of that. Stephane Robidas will also have to take another step towards the role of head veteran, and Trevor Daley will be expected to elevate his game. Nicklas Grossman should continue his steady play that has earned him the admiration of most Stars fans, and Matt Niskanen should be able to redeem himself from last year's erratic and often poor play, while Mark Fistric should finally get the full time NHL job he deserves. Andrew Hutchinson and Jeff Woywitka will be the backup defenders.
Waiting in the wings are several young players with hopes of reaching the NHL soon, the most prominent among them being Ivan Vishnevskiy. The offensively talented defenseman showed great improvements defensively last year, prompting the Stars to give him plenty of time to prove himself in training camp. However, management will likely decide that more improvement will come from top-line AHL time, rather than sporadic play with Dallas.

Goaltending
The Stars have relied on Marty Turco since his rookie season, and it's unlikely that anything will change this year. However, they will have a solid backup in Alex Auld, who will be able to provide Turco with more nights off than in recent seasons.
In the wings, Richard Bachman quietly sits under the radar, waiting to bring his superb skills to the NHL.