With the Stars struggling to generate offense for too much of the season, and particularly on this three-game losing streak, Jim Nill has pulled the trigger on asking if the next wave of Dallas’s depth can give them more than many of their NHLers have given them so far.
Denis Gurianov has been recalled to the NHL prior to Dallas’s final game of the road trip in Colorado on Saturday. He will play.
Gurianov is on a scoring tear lately, and he’s put up 28 points in 23 games so far this season. There is precedent for forcing a call-up, as Devin Shore can attest:
Let's talk about #FreeGurianov. When Devin Shore got called up from the AHL, he was 21. He had 26 points through 23 games. Gurianov is also 21. Also in the AHL. Except he has 27 points through 23 games. Just saying.— David Castillo (@DavidCastilloAC) December 13, 2018
More than that, though, the Stars are in a bad way right now. All of the hope built up from a just-enough-to-win four-game stretch has gone out the window with some bad losses to teams in the Pacific this week, and Dallas cannot afford to keep hoping to eke out wins as they sit 10th in the West. At some point, you have to shoot your shot, and Gurianov, who is top-five in the AHL in scoring this season despite playing in front of a Texas blue line held together with baling wire and prayer candles, is looking like a completely different player than what you might have heard he was in the playoffs last year after his healthy scratches.
As with most things, Gurianov wasn’t as bad as you feared he was then, and he probably isn’t a ready-made point-per-game player in the NHL today. But if you’re Dallas, hard up against the cap with a bottom six that just hasn’t been chipping in nearly enough, you have little choice at this point but to explore every option, and Gurianov is the best one they have, by far.
In case you haven’t heard, this team’s top line outside of Alex Radulov hasn’t scored consistently. No, really: the Stars have gotten a total of just 15 goals through 32 games from these six players combined:
Radek Faksa (5)
Blake Comeau (3)
Brett Ritchie (2)
Tyler Pitlick (2)
Mattias Janmark (3)
Valeri Nichushkin [error: file not found]
With Tyler Seguin also on pace for a dreary season in the goal department, Dallas needs a scoring threat somewhere else in the lineup. I’d expect Gurianov to play with either Spezza or Seguin tomorrow, but even putting him with Jason Dickinson wouldn’t be a bad idea at all. Gurianov has the speed and shot to make use of the puck in the offensive zone, so it’s time to see if another first-round pick can re-write the narrative this season.
The press release is below, but before that, please enjoy some Denis Gurianov Things:
This was a nice assist by Denis Gurianov pic.twitter.com/2cTxy938A1— Sean Shapiro (@seanshapiro) November 25, 2018
Only watched a few Texas games this season, but Denis Gurianov looks like a man reborn.— Corey Pronman (@coreypronman) December 14, 2018
Here’s the official release:
FRISCO, Texas -- Dallas Stars General Manager Jim Nill announced today that the club has recalled right wing Denis Gurianov from the Texas Stars, Dallas’ top development affiliate in the American Hockey League (AHL).
Gurianov, 21, is currently tied for fourth in the AHL and ranks second on Texas with 28 points (9-19=28) in 23 games so far this season. The forward shares eighth in the AHL and leads Texas with three game-winning goals in 2018-19, while he also paces Texas with 19 assists. Gurianov has also appeared in two NHL games with Dallas this season, recording one goal (1-0=1).
The 6-foot-2, 195-pound native of Togliatti, Russia was originally selected by Dallas in the first round (12th overall) of the 2015 NHL Draft.