“You can stop asking about Stephen Johns’ status.” That’s how Sean Shapiro opens his latest piece from Dallas Stars training camp, and it’s an unwelcome shower of ice after a summer full of optimism for Stars fans.
Johns isn’t skating. And now the Stars will not even have a right-side placeholder in unsigned RFA Julius Honka, who has asked for a trade and will remain in Finland until he gets it.
All of this leaves a top-four vacancy and as many as two additional spots for NHL defensemen. Facing the suddenly staggering cost of acquiring a bona fide No. 4 RHD through a trade, the Stars will have to depend on their farm system being as deep as fans have been telling themselves it is.
Shapiro takes a look at who’s most likely to step into the void. One prime candidate is Andrej Sekera, who’s been having a good weekend, according to Jim Montgomery:
Miro Heiskanen and Sekera were paired together on Day 1 (Roman Polak played with Joel Hanley in another group) and Stars coach Jim Montgomery said he likes what Sekera brings.
“Intelligence, poise,” Montgomery said. “I’m watching him in the offensive zone and he’s so smart shooting the puck. He doesn’t shoot it all that hard, but it gets through and he just missed a couple opportunities for screen tips or goals himself. And then his communication on rush defense. He’s a very intelligent athlete, very intelligent hockey player.”
And one name from Cedar Park stands out: Reece Scarlett, who would have been on the roster last fall but for an injury in the Texas Stars’ opening game:
Scarlett is the name that many fans will forget, but is still very much in the minds of Stars brass after blowing out his knee in the first AHL game last season. Scarlett would have gotten a call-up when those injuries struck the NHL roster and if he had been healthy, Dallas never would have traded for Taylor Fedun.
“You sort of wait your whole life and you work as hard you can and you wait for a break, and unfortunately I wasn’t able to take advantage of those breaks (last season),” Scarlett said. “It’s something that you put your head down and keep working hard and hopefully this year I get one of those breaks.”
There’s more behind the paywall. [The Athletic DFW]
The Stars’ bench boss is having a good time at training camp.
“You can tell the systems are in place, it’s a lot easier, my voice is just normal.” https://t.co/eGshBC2D8i— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) September 14, 2019
Get ready for more video like this....
Around The League(s)
Logan Couture is taking over for Joe Pavelski as the San Jose Sharks’ new captain.
Couture is coming off one of his most productive season, scoring a career high 70 points in the regular season and then leading the NHL with 14 goals in the playoffs.https://t.co/5McGnHYs8n— NHL on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) September 14, 2019
Official: Mitch Marner is returning to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Unofficial: More RFA dominoes to fall soon.
BREAKING: The Maple Leafs and Mitch Marner have agreed to a six-year contract.https://t.co/C5OlyoYjyL— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) September 13, 2019
Numerologists, enjoy yourselves.
To be precise. Marners AAV is $10.893 x 6 years.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) September 13, 2019
One more RFA locked up: Ivan Provorov has re-signed with the Philadelphia Flyers. But who got the better end of the deal?
At first blush, Ivan Provorov's new deal has great potential for the Flyers and good security for Provorov. On the whole, everything hinges on which Provorov we see in the coming years.https://t.co/wNNt00WyKq— The Hockey News (@TheHockeyNews) September 14, 2019
Evgeny Kuznetsov will serve a three-day suspension after testing positive for cocaine during the summer.
The Winnipeg Jets are launching some vintage action that we can all get behind. Enjoy.