The Dallas Stars cut five more players today, reducing the roster down to 29 total. At least six more players will have to be placed on injured reserve, returned to the AHL, or sent back to their respective junior teams in order to be roster compliant at the start of the season.
However, though the team can carry 23 roster players on opening night, I think they might try to keep only one extra forward and one extra defenseman to be cap compliant. Dallas is right up against the salary cap max, so any dollars they can save from day one will help them out come the trade deadline.
With Antoin Khudobin and Ben Bishop expected to start the last two games of the preseason, goaltenders Landon Bow and Jake Oettinger to the AHL Texas Stars. After a decent showing in training camp by free agent signing Joel Kiviranta, both he and Joel L’Esperance were also sent to Texas.
Ty Dellandrea, a dark horse favorite to make the NHL squad, was sent back to his team in Flint of the OHL. He’ll play a lot of key minutes as captain of the team and first line fixture, but for his development purposes, you’d like to see him get a chance to go deep in the playoffs with a team that will compete. Keep an eye out for an in-season trade of the Stars prospect this season.
It’s expected that both Martin Hanzal and Stephen Johns will both be on injured reserve at the beginning of the season. Here’s who is left — and how likely they are to make the roster on opening night.
- Joe Cecconi has been injured throughout camp, and can’t be sent down until healthy. But he’s the most likeliest to be cut of the players remaining.
- Rhett Gardner has seen a lot of time on the penalty kill during the preseason. The team has killed 22 of 23 power play opportunities, one of the biggest strengths the team has shown throughout the offensive inconsistency seen so far.
- Nicholas Caamano is in a similar boat to Gardner. If there isn’t a top six spot available, the ability to kill penalties and play a solid two-way game could help improve the bottom six on the fourth line.
- Jason Robertson had a strong Traverse City tournament and has been another dark horse candidate to make the team. With Jason Dickinson having made a good statement in last night’s 2-1 in over the St. Louis Blues for top six minutes, it might be better for Robertson’s development to get playing time in the AHL this season.
- Thomas Harley is surprisingly still with the Dallas Stars, which likely won’t stop his hype train from slowing down. Still expect that he’s returned to juniors, though maybe the team gives him a 9-game look before having to make that call.
- Joel Hanley could stick around as an eighth defenseman. We know how general manager Jim Nill likes to carry eight blueliners on his team the last few years. (That’s tongue-in-cheek. But seriously, this team has a logjam seemingly always at this position. Though they did have to utilize a LOT of that depth last season due to injuries.)
- Denis Gurianov appears to be getting every chance to make the roster this season. He’s shown flashes of greatness throughout training camp. He needs to show some consistency too.
- Justin Dowling was a favorite of head coach Jim Montgomery during the playoffs. I’d imagine he sticks in the NHL this season, and can always be sent back to Texas if needed later in the season, though he’d be subject to waivers.
Seems like Montgomery might agree with some of these roster assessments:
Monty said Gardner and Caamano are still around because they’ve embraced a role they’d need to play in Dallas. Robertson has earned his spot to stick around with play in last two preseason games— Sean Shapiro (@seanshapiro) September 25, 2019