Another start of a Dallas Stars training camp, another report of early-season injuries before the team even hits the ice. Last season, general manager Jim Nill told media on opening day of training camp that Corey Perry would miss time with a broken foot. Today, it was Joe Pavelski’s turn, though he is listed as day-to-day pending medicals.
Meanwhile, Anton Khudobin is dealing with immigration issues so has not been able to join the team on the ice either. If he misses a significant amount of days in an already shortened 10-day training camp, his ability to be ready to start the season could come into question. Jake Oettinger just might be getting a rude introduction to the life of a NHL starter sooner rather than later as the team is already down a starting goaltender in Ben Bishop, who is recovering from offseason knee surgery.
Here were the reported lines for the Stars in the first day of training camp, as per Matt DeFranks from Dallas Morning News:
Jamie Benn - Roope Hintz - Denis Gurianov
Joel Kiviranta - Justin Dowling - Alexander Radulov
Andrew Cogliano - Radek Faksa - Blake Comeau
Nicholas Caamano - Jason Dickinson - Jason Robertson
Esa Lindell - John Klingberg
Jamie Oleksiak - Miro Heiskanen
Andrej Sekera - Mark Pysyk
Joel Hanley - Taylor Fedun
A few interesting things in these initial lines:
*With Tyler Seguin out due to offseason hip surgery, Hintz has been elevated to top line center duties for now.
*Dowling taking Pavelski’s spot as center on the second line indicates to me that the coaching staff is not anticipating his absence to be lengthy. Kiviranta and Pavelski showed some good chemistry in the playoffs. With Kiviranta on the line, I’ll be curious to see if Radulov gets some more consistency in his offense this season.
*Julius Honka not being on any of these pairings could indicate that as of now, he’s likely a member of the taxi squad. Honka, who spent last season playing back in Finland in Liiga, could use some time to adjust to the team’s system having not been here last year. Both Hanley and Fedun are familiar with the way Rick Bowness wants to play, with both seeing time in the playoffs due to injuries last summer.
*That goaltending depth feels super thin without either of Bishop or Khudobin. That’s something to keep an eye on as the season progresses.
*Prior to the news of Khudobin having immigration issues, I was planning to write something about how the Stars should consider starting Oettinger in the first game of the season. The premise was that the team would be more tired the second night of a back-to-back in the starting series, and having Khudobin in net on that back half might set Dallas up for the best opportunity to get wins in both games. Depending on how long Khudobin is out of camp due to the paperwork, it might not even be a question about Oettinger getting the season start — but rather, a question of whether Oettinger ends up starting both games of the opening series.