The Dallas Stars continued to trim their training camp roster on Monday, releasing eight more players from the NHL camp roster.
Seven of those cuts - Mattias Backman, Ludwig Bystrom, Julius Honka, Stephen Johns, Esa Lindell, Travis Morin and Devin Shore - where loaned to the Texas Stars of the AHL. Mads Eller was released from his ATO, though according to Sean Shapiro, he will also report to Texas Stars training camp, which starts this week.
Some of the interesting cuts in this round include Honka, Johns and Lindell, who were all expected to have very outside shots at making the roster. Johns in particular was thrown into the deep end in the preseason games, loaded down with some of the toughest defensive assignments in order to get a read on where he was if and when injuries strike at the NHL level.
However, given the eight one-way defenseman contracts still in camp, none of that young trio was really favored to start the season at the NHL level, and their loans to Texas are not all that surprising.
Morin, who cleared waivers a few days ago, will captain the Texas Stars this season.
On the forward end, the most interesting news is who is still with the big club. There are 29 players left on the training camp roster, 28 if you don't count the injured Brett Ritchie. Should the Stars decide to start the season with eight defensemen, there are 13 forward spots up for grab.
Curtis McKenzie has been penciled into that spot (with the assumption that Travis Moen and his one-way contract stay at the NHL level), but those pushing to be included still include Radek Faksa, Jason Dickinson, Remi Elie and Mattias Janmark.
Janmark in particular has been impressive in preseason games, showing a nice offensive touch. The original plan was for him to go back to Sweden and play in the SHL this season, but if he wins the "first forward up" job over someone like McKenzie, that plan may not be set in stone.
The only non-forward still on the roster who is likely to start the season in the AHL is Jack Campbell, almost certainly kept around for the short term to back up Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi in some of the remaining preseason games. Lindy Ruff has said he'll rotate the starts between his veteran netminders for the remainder of the preseason.
The cuts guarantee a more veteran roster in the final three preseason games, including Tuesday's preseason home finale against the St. Louis Blues. Jason Spezza and Curtis McKenzie did not participate in Monday's practice (Ruff has cited "maintenance days" for Spezza recently), so their status is more uncertain. We're also reaching the point of the preseason where Ruff and Jim Nill originally planned to work the hip surgery twins, Jamie Benn and Ales Hemsky, into the lineup for a game or two.
Just for giggles, here is what the Stars ran at forward this morning with Spezza, McKenzie and apparently Dickinson absent:
Here are the Stars lines: Benn-Seguin-Sharp; Nichushkin-Janmark-Hemsky; Roussel-Eakin-Eaves; Moen-Fiddler-Sceviour; Elie-Faksa— Mark Stepneski (@StarsInsideEdge) September 28, 2015