The Stars first game of the season is this week(!), which means it’s time for a season preview from Mike Heika. This year’s keys to success include—unsurprisingly—trying to put together another fast start.
Heika also broke down the team’s depth at each position and took at look at what changes we can expect to see this season. Here’s what he had to say about the Stars’ defensive outlook:
Key stat: Lowered shots on goal against by 1.0 per game last season.
Player to watch: This is John Klingberg's group now, as the third-year NHLer should compete for the Norris Trophy.
What's new: Dan Hamhuis was signed as a free agent and should play on the top pair with Klingberg.
The group of defensemen will see the most changes on the team. Gone are Alex Goligoski, Jason Demers and Kris Russell. In are Hamhuis and Esa Lindell, and Stephen Johns, Jamie Oleksiak and Patrik Nemeth can expect more ice time. The blue line is younger and much bigger and should be able to defend better in its own end. The challenge will be to move the puck to the forwards as well as the group did last season. In the end, they might give up some offense for better defense.
There’s more from Heika—including his guess at who wins the the Stanley Cup (spoiler: not the Stars)—at the link. [SportsDayDFW]
The Stars made a few more roster cuts yesterday.
Dallas Stars have released Justin Fontaine from his PTO. Gemel Smith and Julius Honka have been assigned to the AHL. Roster now at 27— Sean Shapiro (@seanshapiro) October 9, 2016
That means this is how things currently stand (of note, Jason Dickinson should also be on IR).
Here is the current roster. Needs to be down to 23 active players by Tuesday. Eakin, Janmark should be on IR, so two more cuts at least. pic.twitter.com/JFUgYIOXl5— Mark Stepneski (@StarsInsideEdge) October 9, 2016
Over at Sportsnet, Elliotte Friedman has 30 Thoughts for us, including this nugget on Jacob Trouba.
4. Who’s in on Jacob Trouba? As best as I can tell, the list includes Arizona, Buffalo, Boston, Colorado, Detroit and the Rangers. This is purely a guess, but I could see Dallas and Tampa lurking. No idea how the Lightning could do it but Stars GM Jim Nill is always looking to upgrade his blue line.
Check out the other 29 musings at the link. [Sportsnet]
Panthers forward Jonathan Huberdeau will be out 3-4 months after taking a skate to the leg. [Miami Herald]
In other Florida news, the Panthers didn’t go the Connor McDavid route and instead named veteran Derek MacKenzie as its newest captain. [The Hockey News]
Radko Gudas was offered an in-person hearing, but waived that right.
(1/2) Philadelphia's Radko Gudas has been offered an in-person hearing for interference on Boston's Austin Czarnik.— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) October 9, 2016
After Jake Allen left St. Louis’ final preseason game early, the Blues’ goalie situation is in flux. [The Hockey News]
The Hurricanes have claimed forward Martin Frk off waivers from Red Wings. [TSN]
The Maple Leafs have placed forward Brooks Laich on waivers. [Puck Daddy]
And finally, John Klingberg spent his Sunday supporting the Cowboys.