The Dallas Stars' line configurations, stop me if you've heard this one before, are in for another tumultuous change, it seems.
Derek Roy is expected to return to the lineup against the Colorado Avalanche after missing three games with a groin issue, and if the lines from morning skate being reported by Mike Heika are any indication, Glen Gulutzan will use a (finally) full complement of centers in an attempt to create a more balanced offensive attack.
At 1.78 goals-per-game the Stars rank 29th in the NHL ahead of only the Nashville Predators, and they're averaging less than a goal-per-game on the road (4 goals in 5 road games).
The first thing you'll notice is the way Mike lists the Fiddler line fourth. Does that mean, in a tight spot (or 10), that Gulutzan won't deploy Fiddler and Nystrom as he always has for over a season? One cannot answer that now, but you get the idea.
The next thing that jumps out is that Vincour is listed as "top-six" and Michael Ryder is with Cody Eakin and Reilly Smith. This, in theory, gives the Stars three lines that could potentially pack a punch, or at least create more scoring opportunities than the team has in the early going.
Dallas won't have last change tonight or Wednesday, but could use that Roy combination with Eriksson and Vincour as one that could do well head-to-head with other team's top threats. There's some serious possession skill there, and Vincour gives them some size to make up for the diminutive Roy.
Cody Eakin's mettle seems proven to an extent, but what of Reilly Smith with Michael Ryder? Their prowess at one end of the ice could be formidable. Their ability as a group to defend in transition and prevent chances at the other end is in question, and it's against them (and the Fiddler line) that Colorado and Edmonton could choose to strike, and strike hard this week.
Garbutt and Wandell are confirmed as the healthy scratches for tonight. D-pairings were reported as the following:
So there's some continuity there, and they might stick with those for a while to build some chemistry with Jordie Benn now sent back to the Texas Stars. Philip Larsen will watch, it seems, for the time being.
What do you think of these combinations? The offense looks spread around (on paper), but can the team survive defensively?