Though it's only the first weekend of preseason hockey, Lindy Ruff expects to play an NHL roster when the Dallas Stars open exhibition play against the St. Louis Blues Sunday night. Starting out on a winning note is key, the new bench boss says.
If nothing else, the lineup should have some NHL-level intrigue Sunday evening as things get rolling.
"It will be a pretty good mix of our top guys. That top line is going to play. The defense is going to be younger," Ruff said after Saturday's scrimmage. "Among the forwards, for the most part, it will be all the new guys except for Rich obviously. It’s going to be a pretty good lineup."
All the new guys would include Seguin, Shawn Horcoff, Valeri Nichushkin, seemingly, and a smattering of youth, one would assume. If specifics become known in the morning at the 9am skate in Frisco we'll update.
Mark Stepneski reports that Jamie Oleksiak and Kevin Connauton are expected to play, and of course John Klingberg will play in this one preseason game before heading back to Frolunda overseas after an encouraging, if brief, camp.
In goal it's expected to be Dan Ellis and Cristopher Nilstorp splitting time equally.
Meanwhile, one of St. Louis' best lines in camp has been Paajarvi-Berglund-Tarasenko, and it seems it's them who the Stars will have to keep in check Sunday night.
From St. Louis Suburb "Belleville News-Democrat":
Berglund, Paajarvi, Tarasenko, Chris Porter, Adam Cracknell, Keith Aucoin, Ryan Reaves, Maxim Lapierre, Sergey Andronov, Zach Pochiro, Ryan Tesink, Sebastian Wannstrom.
Jay Bouwmeester, Kevin Shattenkirk, Ian Cole, Roman Polak, Joel Edmundson, Jani Hakanpaa.
Jake Allen, Jordan Binnington.
Systematically it should be a good test for Ruff's group, as we know how Ken Hitchcock likes to do things, and we know that Dallas wants to be aggressive on offense. Maintaining meaningful puck possession against a physical St. Louis group could be a trick, even in preseason.
St. Louis has been a traditional preseason matchup for the Stars for years because of geographic advantages - but there's a big difference now. Now they're division rivals. It's tough to 'hold things back' as in football, but it bears watching.
Derek Roy, a one time (briefly) Dallas Star is not expected to play.
The only way you can see the action, oh by the way, is to be at the AAC tonight. There will be no radio or television broadcast. Follow @DefendingBigD on Twitter tonight for running commentary live.