clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Predicting the Dallas Stars Opening Night Roster & Line Combinations

The Dallas Stars open the regular season in just over a week -- let's start our predictions on what the opening night roster will look like.

Tom Pennington

With training camp in the rear-view mirror and the last preseason game out of the way, the Dallas Stars now look towards the beginning of the season when the games actually count --  and an opening night showdown against the all-powerful Chicago Blackhawks.

The big story heading into the preseason wasn't just the new guns brought in to bolster the firepower of the Stars offense, but all of the young prospects now ready to fight and compete for their own spot in the NHL. It had been a long time coming for this organization to get to a point where several young and promising prospects were all seemingly ready to make the jump to the next level at the same time, and it was exciting to get the chance to finally see some of these players at this level.

Inevitably, however, it seems that most -- if not all -- of the young prospects will start the season in the AHL after all. It wasn't a matter of the young players not being ready (at least not all of them) but more a testament to the depth that Jim Nill has created at the NHL level that carries its way down throughout the organization.

As such, let's take a quick look at who/what should be expected to be the opening night roster for the Dallas Stars, and a fun exercise in figuring out the line combinations.

Forwards

Jamie Benn -- Tyler Seguin -- Valeri Nichushkin
Erik Cole -- Jason Spezza -- Ales Hemsky
Antoine Roussel - Cody Eakin -- Ryan Garbutt
Shawn Horcoff -- Vernon Fiddler -- Patrick Eaves
Colton Sceviour

The big question here is whether the Stars decide to keep two extra forwards heading into the season, or keep just one extra forward and call another up as needed. Morin would have to pass through waivers if released but there's a good chance he won't be picked up, but the Stars could decide to start the season with him on the roster and go from there. The guess is the Stars roll with just 13 forwards to start the season.

Note: Lots of questions regarding Sceviour not being in the lineup. This is just for opening night and not an indicator of what I think the rest of the season will be. Sceviour is still recovering from his shoulder surgery and while he certainly looks much closer to 100%, I'm wondering if Eaves will get the call over him the first few games.

With Cody Eakin back the rest of the forward lines fall almost right into the spot many expected the day after free agency began. The chances of these lines not getting jumbled or mixed in the early goings of the season are pretty low, however.

Defense

Trevor Daley -- Alex Goligoski
Jordie Benn -- Patrik Nemeth
Jyrki Jokipakka (Jamie Oleksiak?) -- Sergei Gonchar
Kevin Connauton

This was a tough decision, especially with the possibility that Brenden Dillon won't be signed in time for the start of the season. Connauton has had a great preseason so it's likely he gets the call on opening night over a young rookie like Jokipakka, while Nemeth has struggled at times this preseason and hasn't exactly looked like the defenseman we saw in the playoffs last year.

Note: It's been told to us that Razor stated last night that he thought Jamie Oleksiak was a "a lock to the make the team." Obviously, we don't feel the same here. For us, Jokipakka has had the better camp and preseason. However, the Stars have significantly more invested in Oleksiak and there's a good chance they're going to give the big defenseman the chance to prove he belongs to start the season.

Especially with Dillon out, the Stars want a physical presence to take his spot. Is that Nemeth? Oleksiak? We'll see what they decide.

Another question here is whether the Stars keep just six defensemen and send Nemeth or Jokipakka down to the AHL at the start of the season.

Goalies

Kari Lehtonen
Anders Lindback

No surprises here, although goaltending has not been the team's strong suit so far in the preseason.