No one questions the up and down season that the Stars have had up to this point. Like it or not, this team, just like the previous seasons, is a middle of the road team that will have to fight hard to earn a playoff spot. If things go well for them, they could wind up in the top eight at the end of April. If they suffer any kind of collapse though, well, we could be looking at five straight seasons without playoffs.
Regardless, there is still a major difference between those previous playoff-less seasons and this one. The kids are on the rise.
For the last couple of years, we have watched the prospects slowly make their way from college and Canadian leagues up to the AHL, and now they are finally beginning to fill the ranks in Dallas. They are still green, to be sure, but there are many of them that have the potential to be great. And while this season will still be a struggle for a number of obvious reasons, Bob Sturm gives you reasons to believe in this group of Dallas Stars players.
But, now, I would argue that the Stars have a number of kids who the rest of the league would love to get their hands on, with more on the way. And finally, this week, we are seeing the tangible results simply by looking at the score-sheet. When Jamie Benn found Brenden Dillon on a cross-ice pass late in the game in Vancouver, those who have hung in there with this team jumped off their collective couches in unison celebrating the kids of this franchise winning a game where the four goals were scored: One by a 20-year old (Reilly Smith), one by a 21-year old (Cody Eakin), one by a 22-year old (Dillon), and one by a 23-year old (Antoine Roussel). Four goals by four different men with a collective age of 86 years old? I dare you to find that in the Stars record books, because I would wager it has been a long time.
That's exactly the problem with rebuilding through the draft -- especially when you stay a middle of the road team and never get one of those top 3 picks -- it takes a long time to see it all come to fruition. But that time is finally here, and it is just beginning.
Regardless of the standings in the NHL, keep your eye on on these kids, both the group playing for Dallas now, and the ones down in Austin. I guarantee you more than a few of those are going to become something special.
Coming up in today's links: Help some Canadian friends coming to Dallas, Garbutt is helping the Stars, and a hit that may result in the first suspension of the season.
- If you have a moment, stop over at this fanpost, and give some advice to the Canadians who are making their way down to Dallas this weekend to catch a Stars and a Mavs game. [Defending Big D]
- Ryan Garbutt has provided a fountain of energy for the Stars since being placed on the roster. Here's hoping that it continues. [WFAA]
- Giordano was fined $10,000 for his slewfoot on Antoine Roussel the other night. If you want to see the video of it, you can check it out on the second link. [Stars Inside Edge/Stars Inside Edge]
- Mike Heika gives his predictions on the injuries and call ups over the last couple of days. [Dallas News]
- Speaking of call ups Matt Fraser has certainly earned his time with the big team in Dallas, even if it is only to enjoy the luxury of the press box and draw a bigger paycheck. We'll see how he is used soon enough though. [Stars Inside Edge]
- S.I. has their power rankings of the week posted. They're a little less positive about the Stars than the ESPN rankings were yesterday. [Sports Illustrated]
- Marian Hossa got hurt by a devastating hit yet again. This time it came from Jannik Hansen. We might get our first Shanaban of the season on this one. [Puck Daddy]
- The Blackhawks won again, and have now tied the record for the best start any team has ever had. Hooray. [Globe And Mail]
- For your video of the day, Pavel Datsyuk dekes his way through every Predator on the ice to score a goal. It looks a lot like the one that Jamie Benn had on the Blue Jackets a long while back. Maybe, if he works hard enough, Datsyuk could one day become the player that Jamie Benn is. (Wait, what?)