If you watched the Dallas Stars and St. Louis Blues play on Saturday afternoon, you know that the two Central Division teams played a tough, physical game.
News today came out that the Blues lost Jay Bouwmeester for the remainder of the regular season due to a hip injury. Scottie Upshall suffered an MCL sprain and will be re-evaluated after four weeks, which is a timetable right near the last week of regular season games. Both players left the game on Saturday early in the third period.
It’s not just the Blues that are banged up after the two teams combined for 53 hits in the contest.
The Stars, coming off an optional practice yesterday and facing the Ottawa Senators tonight before hitting the road to take on the Nashville Predators tomorrow night, are dealing with some banged up forwards. News came out of practice yesterday that Gemel Smith will draw into the lineup, indicating that at least one player from Saturday’s lineup is out.
The Stars used their third call-up today when they recalled 21-year-old forward Roope Hintz. NHL teams are limited to four call-ups after the trade deadline, and recalling Remi Elie from the AHL was their first. That move was a paper move to ensure Elie was on the Texas Stars roster and eligible for the playoffs, should the Dallas Stars not make it and/or the Texas Stars make it far and Dallas is eliminated early enough for Elie to get additional experience playing in the playoffs at the AHL level. The second was the call-up of Jason Dickinson.
Hintz has impressed in his first professional season in North America. He was one of the last cuts from the Dallas Stars roster during training camp, and was thought of as a dark horse candidate to make the NHL roster. He earned praise from head coach Ken Hitchcock during training camp for his play in the preseason. “Hintz has stepped up here. His game has gone up another level. He was our best forward (against the Avalanche). He’s now challenging, where you weren’t sure before.”
The call-up is likely a nod from the Stars front office that acknowledges his work this season. Hintz has scored 15 goals and has 27 points in 55 games with the Texas Stars this season.
With the limitations on post-trade deadline call-ups, it is possible that Hintz remains with the Dallas Stars for the remainder of their season. The roster limit of 23 players is expanded post-deadline, with teams having to remain under the salary cap ceiling as they carry extra bodies on their roster.
The call-up leaves the Texas Stars lineup a little thin on the forward side, though — Brian Flynn and Justin Dowling missed their last game with injuries, Curtis McKenzie remains out of the lineup, and Jason Dickinson is already in Dallas and unlikely to be returned before the Dallas season ends, either.