Cody Eakin was acquired at the 2013 NHL draft in the trade that sent Mike Ribeiro to the capital of our great nation. He's a proud ginger which, despite sounding like an oxymoron, could actually be a strange and convoluted metaphor for his brief time as a Dallas Star. Eakin played a prideful hardworking game and his combination of speed and hitting allowed him to routinely beat opposing players to the puck as if they were redheaded step children.
Does the metaphor make sense? I mean, maybe not. But, we live in a world where Eakin is considered more likely to make an impact on the 2013 Stars than Valeri Nichushkin. I don't know what anything means anymore.
(I'm sorry Valeri.)
Eakin will definitely make an impact though. In the Stars first preseason game he anchored the second line with Shawn Horcoff and our new Russian friend. The line was solid, and it isn't out of the question to think that Eakin could end up being the Stars second line center out of the gate. It seems a bit unlikely, but they do seem to be giving him a legitimate shot to take the job.
In his 44 game debut Eakin scored 24 points, including 7 goals. Prorated over a full season of games that production comes out to about 44 points. Considering that Eakin was 6th among Stars forwards in powerplay time on ice per game with a possibly more prominent role coming up, it isn't crazy to think he could see a spike in production.
The other thing to consider with Eakin is that he rarely had a chance to develop any chemistry with anyone. The three forwards he played with the most last season were Reilly Smith, Michael Ryder, and Loui Eriksson. The highest remaining players are Ray Whitney, Ryan Garbutt, and Antoine Roussel at around 96 minutes of even strength ice time. Eakin appears to be ready to play with higher end offensive players on a more consistent basis so there is more evidence to suggest he could see a production spike.
Overall Eakin is a very solid player who fits a nice role with the Stars. At 22 years old he still has some upside left to contribute, but after his brief stint in the NHL last year he showed that he should be part of the core of the next good Stars team. He can contribute in all situations, and could grow into a really good third line center as time progresses with a ceiling of a #2 if everything breaks right. Eakin is very exciting to watch, and because of the excitement he brings he settles in at #12 on our list.