He can't believe it either. - Christian Petersen
You guys. Hockey is coming.
That also means training camp is coming. And it's coming quickly. The abrupt start to the season in January means that camps will be noticeably smaller and shorter than in years past. The Stars reportedly will have 25-26 players in for a quick camp. Bringing any more than that would disrupt the rosters of every league in North America. So, for once, the NHL appears to be considering others.
Which 26 players will be in Stars camp? Let's discuss.
These 15 forwards are (probably) your 2013 Dallas Stars:
Your standard NHL roster will have 14 forwards (12 active, 2 scratches). One of the 15 mentioned above will end up in Austin. The most likely candidates are Reilly Smith, Alex Chiasson, Eric Nystrom, Tom Wandell, and Ryan Garbutt. In reality, one of Reilly Smith or Alex Chiasson will end up back in Austin. Both kids need to play. The early money should be on Smith heading back to Austin. He needs top six minutes that aren't available right now.
The Stars simply don't have time to bring any of these guys to camp. The biggest arguments could be made for Fraser and Sceviour. The Stars haven't shown much regard for Sceviour in the past, and it doesn't seem like they would want to bury Fraser as a scratch or fourth liner.
The eight defenders we're likely to see in camp are as follows:
One of Mark Fistric or Aaron Rome will be the Stars seventh defenseman this year. They only list six blueliners on their website. The final spot is going to end up coming down to Jamie Oleksiak or Brenden Dillon. When camp was going to happen in September the thought was that Dillon was definitely going to take the final spot. That may still be the case, but Oleksiak has half of a year of really good AHL play under his belt now.
Considering pedigree, tools, and production there is an easy case to be made that Oleksiak should be the guy. The Stars like both though, and Dillon was here first. But, again, they only list six on the site. It doesn't appear, at least, that it's set in stone that Dillon is the guy.
Not mentioned: Patrick Nemeth, Jordie Benn
The goalie group shouldn't come as much of a surprise.
The two netminders from last year and Christopher Nilstorp should take the net in camp. Jack Campbell will get to play for a week in the AHL while Nilstorp gets a chance to make an impression with the big club. An argument could be made for only taking two goalies given how short camp is, but I still think we'll see three go. It would be a massive upset if Bachman wasn't the backup coming out of camp.
Given how close we are to the opening of camp the chances of the Stars making any drastic roster changes prior to camp opening are slim. The players mentioned above are likely the guys who will be heading to Frisco. Welcome back, hockey.