Dallas Stars training camp kicked off yesterday in Cedar Park at the HEB Center. Friday and Saturday’s schedules were much the same, one group training at 9:30, the other starting at 11:45. As Friday was a work day for most of us (including the Stars), these observations will be about Saturday’s training sessions.
There’s a lot to be excited about this season, and about the future for the Stars, so let’s get the obvious ones out of the way first. Jamie Benn, in particular, looked happy to be healthy in camp and is definitely ready for the season to begin. He spent most of the morning on line rushes with Alexander Radulov, and the two of them connect well together. Jason Spezza was also on their line, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a lot of that combination in the regular season.
Tyler Seguin was in the first group and did line rushes with Mattias Janmark and Tyler Pitlick. Pitlick was a July 1 acquisition via free agency, coming from the Edmonton Oilers. And so I don't bury the lede too much, Janmark looks fantastic. There’s probably going to be some questions, given the nature of his injury, about whether it recurs, but he definitely looked ready to go today.
Of course, the biggest question is going to be our defensive line. There are nine defenseman on the veterans practice roster for tomorrow morning, and only room for 7 or 8 at the start of the season, depending on the team’s confidence in Janmark’s status. Of course, one of the spots is Julius Honka, who is having a great camp, but he’s also the only one currently on a two way contract.
Other impressions: Gavin Bayreuther has some good moves and scored a really nice goal on Landon Bow. As Mike McKenna is a lock for the Texas Stars, Bow and Philippe Desrosiers still need to battle it out for the backup position. So far neither has stood out. RJ Umberger had some nice battles in the corner for puck possession, but also missed a lot of connections and looked pretty rusty. Ondrej Vala, a young defenseman who spent last year in the WHL with the Kamloops Blazers, looks ready to step up to the AHL.
Tomorrow’s intra-squad scrimmage has turned into a veteran practice in the morning, starting at 9 am, and a “kids” scrimmage at noon.