The intra-squad scrimmage Sunday morning was everything the Dallas Stars are branded to be: high event fun. Out of 11 goals, 5 were scored by our offensively minded defensemen and Jason Spezza and Patrick Sharp again proved how eager they were for the season to start.
But before we get to that: injury updates. Radek Faksa, out with concussion-like symptoms, will practice tomorrow. Ales Hemsky is out 7-10 with a groin injury. Devin Shore has an ankle injury and will miss a couple of weeks. Tyler Seguin still expected back before the start of the season. Jamie Benn, still recovering from abdominal surgery to fix an injury, did not play today.
Players that impressed:
There’s the obvious Nick Ebert, who we acquired in the Jack Campbell trade from the LA Kings organization. He’s a right handed defenseman who has yet to make his NHL debut, but he did score a beauty of a hat trick this afternoon. That is one more goal than he scored in the entirety of last season with the Ontario Reign. It’s a scrimmage though, so we’ll see how he fits in with the Stars AHL system as the season progresses.
Adam Cracknell also stood out both yesterday in training drills and today during the game. His passing today especially was above the level of his linemates and he displayed good decision making. Cracknell is a vet at 31, has spent most of his time in the AHL before making the Vancouver roster out of training camp last season. He was placed on waivers, claimed by the Edmonton Oilers, and signed with Dallas as a free agent after his contract expired.
Remi Elie, Brett Ritchie, and Cole Ully continued to impress this game as well, with good on ice decision making. Patrick Eaves centered a line today and took some face offs. He also opened scoring with a penalty shot in the first (all penalties today were penalty shots). Considering our injuries down the middle, he’s a good back up C option.
Dan Hamhuis and John Klingberg spent the game together for Team White. The Ham-berg pairing looks like it’s going to be incredibly effective in the regular season.
Players in need of more development:
Julius Honka had a great offensive game. He spent most of his time with Oduya and scored once on a penalty shot. He had a great offensive read of the game. His work in his own end, however, could still be better, and will no doubt be something he looks to continue to develop this season.
Denis Guryanov looked awesome in drills yesterday but didn’t stand out in the game this morning. He looked tentative against the more seasoned players, which is no doubt something he’ll get more comfortable with over time.
Goalie numbers today:— Mark Stepneski (@StarsInsideEdge) September 25, 2016
Lehtonen: 12 shots, 9 saves
Niemi: 6 shots, 5 saves
Lagace: 8 shots, 7 saves
Desrosiers: 13 shots, 8 saves
Couple of things to keep in mind here. It’s an intra-squad scrimmage and you expect higher scoring. While Philippe Desrosiers had the worst save percentage, he was also hung out to dry in front of Klingberg, who had three big chances right in a row that Desrosiers stopped.
Also, so many penalty shot goals. The goaltending will be an interesting (if somewhat painful) thing to keep an eye on through the pre-season.
The good news:
Teams tend to play how they practice, and we’ve lost none of the speed that made the entire team stand out so much last season. So expect to see more of this as the preseason goes on.