Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
"Injuries are a huge part of this season, and the team that adjusts best is going to have an advantage."
First, it made room for some of the younger kids to play in Dallas, instead of spending more time in the AHL. So far, this has paid off fairly well, with Brenden Dillon and Jordie Benn proving that they can handle the responsibility. Dillion has been an absolute gem of a find up to this point, playing top minutes with Robidas, and leading the defense in goals scored (three). While Jordie Benn has not been given the same levels of responsibility, he has shown the ability to learn from his mistakes, without panicking and collapsing every single game. The errors will still be there, but the fact that he has the chance to play with some regularity is allowing him to grow at the NHL level.
The second effect that the trade of Fistric had on this team is that it meant that the Stars' defense could now be depleted very very quickly, should any injuries occur. While Oleksiak is waiting in the minors to be called up, beyond that there are no real reserves on defense. This meant that at any one point, the Stars defense could have up to two injuries on the roster, without getting into real trouble.
So what happens when the Stars have three injured D-men?
That's the question, as we get nearer to tonight's game against the Nashville Predators. As of right now, Carl Sneep has been called up to fill any holes on the roster, should Trevor Daley not be able to return from his injury. When Sneep was acquired back in January it was generally known that he would only be called up should the worst happen. He can generally be thought of as a career AHL guy. Someone that can help your team in the minors, but is lacking the skill or speed necessary to keep up at the NHL level.
Assuming that Daley cannot recover in time to be in tonight's game, Sneed and the rest of the depleted defense will be relied upon to keep the pressure off of Cristopher Nilstorp in net. And this is all part of the "fun" of your average NHL season.
"It's the challenge of the league," Gulutzan said. "Injuries are a huge part of this season, and the team that adjusts best is going to have an advantage."
The Stars have been trying to adjust, and the coaching staff has been trying to make sure the depth in the organization is up to speed.
At the same time, the coaches have had to address any number of problems that range from allowing too many shots on goal, taking too many penalties, losing too many faceoffs, and making too many turnovers while trying to move the puck out of their end of the ice.
Defense is obviously not the only question mark coming in tonight's game, but it is probably the biggest. Hopefully, playing a low scoring team like Nashville will help them out, and allow them to play a simple game. With any luck, our defensemen can get healthy soon, and this will only be a concern for no more than a couple of games.
Coming up in today's links: Razor talks about the unnecessary goalie padding, some trade thoughts on Ryan O'Reilly and others, and have you ever seen a 6'9" ballerina?
- Mark Stepneski has his preview of tonight's game, including a stats matchup of the teams. [Stars Inside Edge]
- Razor discusses the NHL's "Performance Enhancing Pads" problem. [Dallas Stars]
- The Blackhawks continue to roll, winning 1-0 against the Blue Jackets last night. They are now 15-0-3. [ESPN]
- Here's a pair of trade articles by Allan Muir. The first focuses on the likely teams to trade for Ryan O'Reilly (hint: It's not the Dallas Stars), and the second looks at possible other big trades this season (also not involving the Stars). [Sports Illustrated/Sports Illustrated]
- The debate over whether or not play challenges are coming to the NHL is still going strong. And with refs continuing to make some of the errors they've made this season (See: Duchene Goal), it's not going away anytime soon. [Globe And Mail]
- Greg Wyshynski talks about the realignment proposal, and how good it might actually be. [Puck Daddy]
- Brian Burke is now working for the Anaheim Ducks as well as the Toronto Maple Leafs. His story has certainly been an interesting one. [Globe And Mail]
- For your video of the day, Zdeno Chara does a well exectued spin-o-rama to score a goal against the Florida Panthers. It's not every day you see a giant defenseman pull a move like that, and you can really hear the excitement in Jack Edwards' voice.