The Dallas Stars will once again enter training camp with a logjam on defense. This is the year when they do something about it. Right? ...Right?
NHL.com beat writer Sean Shapiro took on several questions about the guys who would defend Big D in a recent mailbag post:
Ideally the top-six defenders in camp will be the top-six defenders on NHL opening night.
However, we know that’s not how these things work in reality. Contracts and other factors come into play.
So with that in mind, I don’t see how Miro Heiskanen makes the team out of training camp even if he’s one of the top-six defenders, it’s just an unfortunate reality.
If Heiskanen makes the team I think the Stars would try and move Dan Hamhuis via trade, however I don’t expect that to happen.
In the next breath, he tackled the question of Stephen Johns and whether he could end up the odd man out:
There are two things stopping Johns from becoming a very good NHL player: hockey sense and confidence.
You can tell when Johns isn’t confident in his game. He looks like a shell of himself and his tools are diminished. He has to have the confidence that he’ll be able to play through mistakes and that he’s not going to be benched for a minor [misstep] or penalty.
So that creates the biggest question (or issue) with Johns. Is his hockey IQ high enough for him to succeed? I’d like to think it will reach an adequate level under the new coaching staff, but we will have to wait and see.
There’s much more – from which prospect forwards should be a lock for the future to how the Stars would fare as a baseball team to a hidden cameo by The Mooterus – in the roundup on Sean’s own site. [Wrong Side of the Red Line]
Mark Stepneski is following the 2017 World Junior Summer Showcase, and he’s posted a new report on Stars prospect action – including this sweet goal by Riley Tufte (with assists by Casey Mittelstadt and Logan Brown). [Between the Blue Lines]
Tufte is making highlight-reel goals with Da Beauty League this summer, too.
Matt Larkin has chosen six Stars – Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, Alexander Radulov, John Klingberg, Ben Bishop and Jason Spezza – to place among THN’s top 200 fantasy players for 2017-18. [The Hockey News]
Nashville Predators captain Mike Fisher is calling it a career after 17 years in the NHL, and after leading the Perds to their first Stanley Cup Finals appearance in franchise history. The Tennessean had the exclusive.
P.K. Subban was one of many offering good wishes, and he even tweeted a Campbell Bowl photo that featured Vernon Fiddler. (Thanks, Subbanator.)
Matt Duchene talks about a rough 2016-17 campaign with the Colorado Avalanche, and the NHL Tonight crew discusses where he might land in 2017-18.
Around the league(s)
Buffalo Sabres superstar Jack Eichel – who led the team with 54 points last season despite missing the first two months with an ankle injury – is on the verge of an eight-year extension that will probably make him very rich.
Arizona Coyotes blueliner Jakob Chychrun has had knee surgery after a training injury and is out with no timeline. Will his absence mean more ice time for former Star Kevin Connauton?
Marc-Andre Fleury has revealed his new, Sin City-themed mask for the Vegas Golden Knights, and oh my.
Meanwhile, Roberto Luongo’s new bucket is pure simplicity. [NHL]
The New Jersey Devils are insta-retiring the number of franchise icon Patrik Elias.
IOC senior member Dick Pound is the latest to rip the league for its decision to stay out of the PyeongChang Games: “It is not sufficient for the NHL to be content with plucking the low-hanging financial fruit, but to fail to invest in the future of the game.” [Sportsnet]
And last night, Team USA defeated Hungary 4-2 in the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament pregame.
By the team you read this, USA Hockey may have already announced its coaching staff for the 2018 Winter Olympics. If they haven’t, you can watch live here.
P.S. John Buccigross already has their names.
Tony Granato's (Head Coach) USA Olympic assistant coaching staff is:— Bucci Mane (@Buccigross) August 4, 2017
Announcement Tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/fGIfhtOIsU
Greetings From Scenic Cedar Park
Texas Stars GM Scott White talks about the team’s offseason, from the addition of goaltending development coach Jim Bedard to the expanding expectations for prospect forward Denis Gurianov.
Dear goodness: The Stars’ #MurderDeathKill rivalry with the St. Louis Blues will take on a ripe new dimension as the Blues choose familiar T-Stars nemesis the San Antonio Rampage as their new AHL affiliate.
On top of this, the Rampage have signed former Cedar Park stalwart Brendan Ranford, along with Hockey East product Brady Shaw, to an AHL contract. [SA Rampage]
Does one need to say more than “Downey vs. Boulerice”? Aaron Downey is One-Punch Man, and Sergei Zubov is in with the game-winner (and the seventh two-goal game of his career), in a Stars-Hurricanes edition of the Vintage Game of the Week. Enjoy.