DALLAS TX - FEBRUARY 09: Right wing Tomas Vincour #81 of the Dallas Stars in his first NHL game against the Phoenix Coyotes at American Airlines Center on February 9 2011 in Dallas Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Today, the Dallas Stars will make some of the final moves of the preseason as they start to shape the NHL roster. As we've mentioned a few times over the past month, the Stars entered training camp with what we felt was an already-full NHL roster and that it would take an extremely impressive preseason by a young player to change that.
With the Dallas Stars going 6-1 in the preseason and looking like a very different team under coach Glen Gulutzan, a few young players have indeed stepped up and suddenly we're looking at a very difficult decision ahead for the Stars.
If it were as simple as making the roster based on preseason performance, potential and talent -- Eric Godard would be heading to Austin and Tomas Vincour would start the season in the NHL. Yet there are other factors being considered in this decision and much of it has to do with a player's overall developmental curve, something that is likely going to see Vincour in Austin come next week.
What's interesting about this decision is that it's not exactly being influenced by finances. Godard has already cleared waivers and the Stars are prepared to send him to the AHL if needed; he was signed to a two-way contract this summer, so sending him to the AHL won't negatively affect the finances of the Stars.
Instead, we're faced with trying to determine if Vincour is better served, long term, to start out in Austin once more and get top line minutes. If he were in Dallas, he'd likely be on the fourth line and would be facing the possibility of being a healthy scratch from time to time. He's been playing top minutes for the Stars the past few preseason games and he's starting to produce, yet being relegated to the fourth line isn't exactly what's best for the young forward.
Instead, it's likely the Stars approach this situation a bit more pragmatically. Vincour would be the first call up if an injury occurred, with the ability to step right in and play top-six minutes if needed. This would allow him the opportunity to get valuable experience in the AHL while providing the Stars with incredible organizational depth when injuries arise.
What do you feel is the best course of action for the Stars? Should Gulutzan build the best four lines he can, including Vincour, or should the Stars also pay heed to the long term development of a player who could potentially be a big part of this franchise's success in the future?