The Dallas Stars’ 2021 season finally gets going on Friday, barring any more intervening events. How will the team look after the bane of a training camp upended by COVID-19 and the bonus of a few extra practice days?
Saad Yousuf devoted a recent article for The Athletic to gauging where the Stars’ key players rank, roster-wise. Among those trending up – Jamie Benn:
The Stars captain was bound to have a new fit on the roster with his longtime linemate Tyler Seguin out for the first few months of the season. It just wasn’t necessarily on the top line given his play in recent seasons combined with new goal scorers emerging for Dallas. As it turns out, Benn is going to be right in the thick of it on the top line with Roope Hintz and Denis Gurianov. The 31-year-old can no longer be expected to be the top scorer on the team, but he’s still going to be orchestrating the top scoring line. His hockey IQ and scoring experience should be a huge asset to the development of Gurianov and Hintz.
Joe Pavelski leads the group that’s currently trending even – they are what they are, and that’s generally a good thing:
Pavelski is going to be asked to assume some added roles in Seguin’s absence, taking some more faceoffs and having the leadership presence he’s so accustomed to having. Pavelski was signed before last season largely to help in the playoffs, and he did his part in the 2020 run. However, there’s going to be more on his plate this season because of injuries and inexperience on the roster. He needs to have a stronger regular season than he did last year. Not being the new face in town should help.
Most of the players trending down got there because they missed days during the short training camp – including Justin Dowling:
Missing significant time due to the COVID-19 outbreak hurt Dowling. He’s always been a reliable bottom-line forward who is a good teammate and decent player. He’s a better fit as a 13th forward than some of the young guys ahead of him, so he could play that role or could be on the taxi squad.
There’s much more behind the paywall. [The Athletic DFW]
A return to radical normalcy? Razor and Heika are back on the mic.
Speaking of Heika, and because there’s never an overdose of Miro Heiskanen....
Around The Leagues
- The Florida Panthers swept their mini-series with the Chicago Blackhawks with a 5-4 overtime win in Sergei Bobrovsky’s season debut. [Second City Hockey]
- And the Detroit Red Wings won in OT on the second half of their back-to-back against the Columbus Blue Jackets, 3-2. [Winging It In Motown]
Warren Foegele, Jordan Martinook, Jaccob Slavin and Teuvo Teravainen have joined #hurricanes teammate Jordan Staal on the NHL's COVID Protocol list today.— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) January 19, 2021
Hence the postponement of tonight's Carolina-Nashville game.
Meanwhile, back in the regular Central, the Colorado Avalanche have traded Ian Cole for Greg Pateryn. Elliotte Friedman devotes part of his 31 Thoughts to the reasons why.
Sorry for the delay, it was....a day. 31 Thoughts:https://t.co/EhXCxCjLmV— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) January 19, 2021
The NWHL is back, too, with the championship on the line.
The @NWHL is BACK this weekend after COVID-19 halted last season before the Isobel Cup (their Stanley Cup) could be awarded— CBC Sports (@cbcsports) January 20, 2021
CBC's @jackydoorey has details: https://t.co/fUi3VdtFFC pic.twitter.com/Av8ligTcrk
Still trying to decide who to boost? The Ice Garden can help.
Don't have a NWHL team to root for yet? Figure out yours today! https://t.co/wjYylyYhHR— The Ice Garden (@TheIceGarden) January 17, 2021
It’s always fair weather when it’s cold and clear. Enjoy.
Just confirmed with @JesseWFAA, all the other Dallas weather boys, and obviously @tweetgrubes.— Victor E. Green (@VictorEGreen) January 19, 2021
The weather for Friday night’s home opener is PERFECT. I have no idea what the weather will be like outside, but in the arena it should be clear skies and about 55°.
See you then.