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Stars Assign Gurianov To AHL, Make Other Roster Moves

The former 1st-round pick played well in the preseason, but got caught up in a numbers game

Dallas Stars v Colorado Avalanche Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

After last night’s 3-1 loss at the hands of the St. Louis Blues the Dallas Stars, as was expected, made a series of roster moves to narrow their roster down in the lead-up to their season opener on October 4th.

Stars beat writer Mark Stepneski shared the details this morning:

The biggest news here is Denis Gurianov being sent down — but perhaps it shouldn’t be.

The Stars’ 1st-round, 12th-overall selection in the 2015 NHL draft played very well in the preseason, but would have had to vault a lot of forwards ahead of him on the depth chart to make the opening night roster, including many guys who would have to pass through waivers to be assigned to the AHL.

The good news is that Gurianov really needed to show himself well this preseason after being healthy scratched at times in the AHL playoffs this past spring, and by all means he achieved that. If he continues this strong play with the Texas Stars then he’ll likely be one of the top call-up options for Dallas if injuries hit during the year.

With regards to the other moves, goaltender Colton Point getting called back up after being sent down earlier this week is a bit of a surprise. Either the Stars want to see Point one more time against NHL competition before committing to sending him down to the AHL, or both Ben Bishop and Anton Khudobin need a little bit of maintenance before the regular season begins.

Michael Mersch and Erik Condra showed some nice flashes in a few preseason appearances, but they were always expected to be AHLers this season. It’s highly unlikely that either player gets claimed on waivers.

As for who is still with the team, perhaps the biggest surprise is forward Justin Dowling. The 27-year-old Dowling only has nine games of NHL experience and spent all of 2017-18 in the minors, but was a key player in helping Texas reach the Calder Cup Final and has impressed new Stars head coach Jim Montgomery this fall. He’ll likely end up going down to the AHL as well in the next few days, but lasting this long is a good showing for him.

At this point, it seems like who gets the last forward spot on the team will likely come down to a decision between Gemel Smith, Roope Hintz and Remi Elie.

Also still with the Stars are defensemen Gavin Bayreuther and Joel Hanley. Bayreuther spent last season in the organization with the Texas Stars, while Hanley is a well-rounded 27-year-old journeyman with 22 games of NHL experience. Stephen Johns is nursing an injury and might not be ready for the start of the season, so Dallas wants to do their homework and find out who they would prefer to have with the team as a replacement if need be.

The Stars’ last 2018 preseason game is this Sunday against the Colorado Avalanche, a game that could be the deciding factor in the team’s last round of cuts.