The Dallas Stars have made it a habit to collect centers the last few years under general manager Jim Nill in order to stabilize and build up depth at the crucial position, both in Dallas and in Cedar Park. That depth was on the verge of a major challenge, with the Stars potentially missing three of their regular NHL centers after injuries in the last few weeks.
Tyler Seguin, who scored his 30th goal on Saturday versus the NHL-leading Washington Capitals, is second on the Stars in scoring and has scored the most goals this season (one more than points-leader and captain Jamie Benn). He took a Nicklas Backstrom skate to his forearm in the third period Saturday night, and the Stars faced losing their top line center to injury for a few games.
Cody Eakin, who sustained an undisclosed injury during the game versus the Capitals, did not play much of the third period on Saturday. It appeared as though the Stars could have lost their 3rd line center, who was already playing up the lineup with Jason Spezza out. Spezza, who is still considered "week-to-week", has missed the last four games.
Luckily, the Stars expect to have both Seguin and Eakin playing tonight. The venerable Mike Heika updated their status this morning after morning skate:
Tyler Seguin said he feels good. Cody Eakin said he's dealing with lingering pain, but should be fine.— Mike Heika (@MikeHeika) February 15, 2016
The thing to watch tonight will be Eakin's lingering pain and whether that impedes his ability to play on the second half of this divisional back-to-back set that starts tonight. Curtis McKenzie, who was called up yesterday as insurance for the road trip, could draw into the lineup tomorrow night if Eakin cannot go.
That would lead to some interesting lineup changes, as McKenzie is not typically played as a center. I would expect to see Mattias Janmark move up into the 2C slot, with Radek Faksa and Vernon Fiddler filling out the bottom two line center spots if Eakin does not play tomorrow.
Spezza could also return by the end of this week, possibly Saturday's home match versus the Boston Bruins. No injury update on Travis Moen, who was placed on IR after the Chicago Blackhawks road game. He will not return before the end of this three game road trip by the Stars, as he is not eligible to return for at least one week after being placed on IR.