[Update] Per Stephen Meserve of Hundred Degree Hockey, Reilly Smith did not travel with the Texas Stars to Oklahoma City following last night's win. Although we had not heard that Smith would be in camp early with the Dallas Stars, logic says that he's likely going to be joining his teammates in Big D on Sunday. We'll update as soon as we know for certain. [End Update]
The Dallas Stars training camp for the 2013 NHL season is finally set to start on Sunday, with more than a few top prospects expected to be present when camp opens this afternoon.
Cody Eakin, Tomas Vincour, Jordie Benn, Brenden Dillon and Cristopher Nilstorp are all expected to be on the ice with the Stars when the first full practice of the season begins around 2 p.m. CT.
Eakin has led the Texas Stars for most of the season in scoring (recently eclipsed by Reilly Smith), with 12 goals and 12 assists in 35 games. Eakin has been receiving No. 1 center minutes with Texas, usually playing with Smith and Alex Chiasson as his wingers. Acquired over the summer in the trade that sent Mike Ribeiro to the Washington Capitals, it is most likely that Eakin will center the Stars' third line this season.
It's no surprise that Tomas Vincour would get a look, as he spent a lot of the season last year on the big club. Vincour is a puck possession forward that would fit nicely in the bottom six. He also played some time with Eakin down in Austin, and last year spent a bit of time on the fourth line with current Dallas Stars forwards Ryan Garbutt and Tom Wandell.
With Alex Goligoski, Trevor Daley, Stephane Robidas, Philip Larsen, Mark Fistric and Aaron Rome signed to deals already on defense, the Stars will look for the seventh spot to be filled by either Jordie Benn or Brenden Dillon. There is no clear cut first choice between the two, so a strong camp from one over another may be a big determining factor in who eventually gets the nod. Benn leads defensive scoring for the Texas Stars with 7 goals and 10 assists in 37 games. He's been on fire in the last month or so, scoring at both even strength and on the man advantage while getting top pairing minutes. Dillon has 3 goals and 11 assists on the season down in Austin so far playing on the second pair.
Cristopher Nilstorp has been a surprise down in Texas as an unrestricted free agent signing from Europe this summer. Taking full advantage of the opportunity given to him, he has come forward as the number one in the crease down in Austin. He has played in 28 games and posted a 2.13 goals against average and a .916 save percentage. He ranks 4th in the AHL in GAA and has a 16-10-0 record. The Dallas Stars have already stated that they want competition in camp, so he will push to make a case that he should be at the NHL level backing up Kari Lehtonen.
Dallas Stars training camp opens today with on-ice sessions expected from 2:15-3:15 PM CST today at the Dr. Pepper Arena in Frisco. The full schedule for training camp can be seen here. We will have more details on the Thursday night open skate at the American Airlines Center as soon as we have them.