The Dallas Stars took the ice for the final activity of the preseason slate in an exhibition intrasquad scrimmage between Victory Green and White in Cedar Park. The game was also the first action of the preseason for the team's two most-recent signees, Cody Eakin and Brenden Dillon.
"As soon as Cody was back with Roussel and Garbutt, it was like they hadn't been apart," said head coach Lindy Ruff after the game. He continued, "Dillon skated well, so that was encouraging."
The young defenseman was happy to get back into game action. "It was good to get into gameplay," said Dillon. "As much as you try to imitate it back home, there's nothing like playing in an actual game. It was good to getting back on the ice twice today."
Over the coming week, Dillon is looking to just get back into the rhythm of things. "In hockey life, you have to be in great shape, the timing, the rhythm, just thinking the hockey. Out there, things happen quick."
Dillon looked fine, but certainly like a player who needed a bit of tuneup time to get to game speed, by his own admission.
The depth of the entire system was on display and former AHL MVP and now Dallas Star, Jason Spezza, took notice, "The margin of error between NHL and AHL is pretty small now. Some of those guys had good camps, and they played well today. To stay in the NHL, it's a fine line, and there's always guys nipping at your heels."
Here's a couple of notes on players in the scrimmage:
Valeri Nichushkin - Was held out with a flu and a slight muscle pull, according to coach Ruff. It was a late scratch.
Brendan Ranford - Played with Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin on the top line for White in the third period. Made some nice plays on that line and definitely did not look out of place.
Derek Hulak, Branden Troock and Taylor Peters - Coach Ruff said this line impressed, despite limited minutes. Troock had a goal and Hulak was all over it, charging to the net and getting some good shots. With Dallas brass in the building, it could be a good idea to keep an eye on him for the future.
Julius Honka - Paired with Brenden Dillon for part of the scrimmage, he had a great play in the first to create a turnover and generate a goal for White. He also got burned on a play by Vernon Fiddler in the second. It's a mixed bag, but Dillon said of Honka after the game, "He's a skilled defender, deceptive and easy to play with. I think I was the lucky one out there tonight to be playing with him."
Kari Lehtonen - Lehtonen stopped 17 of 21 shots through 40 minutes. He looked out of sorts and coach Ruff agreed with the assessment. At the other end of the ice, Anders Lindback stopped 19 of 20.