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Dallas Stars Morning Skate Update: They're Back

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The Stars prepare to open the 2016-17 campaign, albeit with a slightly beat up lineup, and take on those dastardly Anaheim Ducks tonight at the American Airlines Center.

Anaheim Ducks v Dallas Stars Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Remember those little bubbles of stress? The ones where it's Game 12 or 41 or 72 but tonight's game will suddenly tell you everything you need to know about the potential and future of the Dallas Stars?

Remember those big bubbles of sports loathing for players like, well, Corey Perry and his Anaheim Ducks mates?

Well get ready to welcome those back, because the Dallas Stars kick off their 2016-17 campaign tonight at the American Airlines Center by welcoming those dastardly, darkwing Ducks to get the season started off on what's sure to be an interesting night.

On the Stars side of things, the forward side of the lineup is slightly injury depleted in the bottom six with Ales Hemsky,Cody Eakin and Mattias Janmark on injured reserve, which means players like Adam Cracknell and Lauri Korpikoskiwill be making their Dallas' debuts next to more expected newcomers Jiri Hudler and Dan Hamhuis.

The brighter news is the top six looks basically intact for what it will be this season, outside of the long-term injury to Janmark, and features the first look at Tyler Seguin we've had since his injury in the World Cup.

Here are the likely forward lines according to the venerable Mark Stepneski:

Stars expected lines tonight:

Benn-Seguin-Eaves

Sharp-Spezza-Hudler

Roussel-Faksa-Ritchie

Korpikoski-Shore-Cracknell

— Mark Stepneski (@StarsInsideEdge) October 13, 2016

It's almost a Fak' Em line. So close. The fun storyline with that group is Brett Ritchie will be playing his little brotherNick Ritchie, who is with the Ducks. And what better person to take along to torture your little brother than Antoine Roussel.

The defense the Stars have practiced with over the past three days is a little more of a talking point, given the strong feelings some Stars fans have about Jordie Benn. He will start the season alongside John Klingberg on the "top pairing," though if last season was any indication, the Klingberg pair will get favorable zone starts at home which may play to Benn's advantage.

Stars expected defense pairs:

Benn-Klingberg

Oduya-Johns

Hamhuis-Nemeth

Niemi in goal.

— Mark Stepneski (@StarsInsideEdge) October 13, 2016

To me, looking at that in terms of deployment, it's one line to take the offensive zone minutes and two designed more for the defensive end (albeit the Hamuis-Nemeth pairing may benefit from more neutral-type starts rather than being buried). That's got some inherent logic to it, though we will have to see how it works in execution.

Jamie Oleksiak is a little banged up, with leaves Esa Lindell in the press box. One does have to wonder if he will head down to the AHL once Oleksiak is healthy - who gets in to the lineup Saturday against Colorado will likely tell us more in that direction. Curtis McKenzie is the scratch on the forward in.

In optimistic news, both Hemsky and Oleksiak took part in the morning skate, though Hemsky has to be out at least a week with his injury from the day he was put on IR. Ruff said the earliest he could be available is sometime next week.

Just like last season, Antti Niemi will be the season-opening starter. He had a strong final preseason game, but whether this is a sign of an uneven split or just the start of the usual platooning is also a story yet written.

John Gibson will be in net for the Ducks, who will bring their usual lineup of pestilence with them. Prepare the booing engines for Corey Perry, as always.