The Dallas Stars, and indeed the NHL, have entered that brief period of relative calm before training camp and the Traverse City Prospect Tournament. And now that we’re officially just waiting for more hockey, there’s plenty of time to start speculating about how the team will line up during the 2021-22 season.
The Athletic’s Saad Yousuf talked with two Stars players and one executive about the additions, departures, and up-and-comers that will affect this season’s forward combos and defensive pairings. The good news is that that Stars are keeping a close eye on prospects who could break camp with the big team. The bad news is that seems to be the entire plan:
“We had a very busy schedule so I didn’t pay much attention to what [Riley Damiani] was doing down there (in the AHL) but (winning) Rookie of the Year is no joke,” one player said. “Caught some of the replays over the summer and the kid has something there.”
The Stars have maintained that there is a group of young talent that will have an opportunity at the NHL lineup coming out of training camp. Damiani and [Ty] Dellandrea are the forwards with higher ceilings who fall under that category.
The two most significant factors will be how much they’ll be able to demand ice time, and whether they can sustain a spot in the lineup as opposed to hanging in the balance between lineup and healthy scratch. When in the lineup, can they be productive enough to help the Stars win games? The latter may sound obvious, but there is a strong sense within the organization that, barring injuries, the team isn’t in a spot where it can casually bring along a younger player who isn’t truly ready to contribute. The sense of urgency is high to have the 12 best players who can contribute to a win on any given night. If a player needs personal development, that will have to come in Cedar Park.
Meanwhile, on defense, Yousuf looks at the one-man-enters-one-man-leaves scenario created by the signing of Ryan Suter and the loss of Jamie Oleksiak to the Seattle Kraken:
This is more about [Miro] Heiskanen, the 22-year-old Finnish superstar who just inked a hefty contract extension. He’s already elite but has plenty of unlocked potential, particularly offensively. Heiskanen has shown so far in his career that he can play with anybody as his partner, but playing with fellow countryman [Esa] Lindell, a defensive defenseman, could allow Heiskanen to shoulder the offensive responsibility he craves and is capable of carrying.
If the Stars opt to put Suter with Heiskanen, the results should still be great. The team knows what to expect from the top pairing of [John] Klingberg and Lindell, and Suter’s skill and hockey IQ should allow him to mesh seamlessly with Heiskanen. Either way, the Stars will have one of the best top fours in the NHL.
There’s much more behind the paywall. [The Athletic DFW]
The SportsDay staff has put together get-to-know-me lists for two of the Stars’ newest. For example, Ryan Suter really does believe he can finally win a Stanley Cup with Dallas.
And Braden Holtby switched his goaltending idol from Patrick Roy to Marc-André Fleury (although it’s never too late to learn that Eddie’s Better).
Around The Leagues
In case you missed it, the Traverse City tournament will arrive just in time to bridge that sports gap between the Paralympics and training camp.
Red Wings make this year's Traverse City Prospect Tournament *official* official. It’ll run September 16-20 with Dallas, Toronto, Columbus and St. Louis. See ya there. https://t.co/7gzGrpVGL6— Scott Wheeler (@scottcwheeler) July 30, 2021
Reminder: Jaromir Jagr is still out there, still winning, and probably still will be after the heat death of the universe.
Jaromir Jagr: ‘Only God will judge me’@68Jagr is on the cusp of 50 and – despite some detractors – he’s still going strong, winning championships and keeping his hometown club in Kladno alive: https://t.co/RgoasDMlsz— The Hockey News (@TheHockeyNews) August 11, 2021
You don’t have to have a vaccine passport, you’ll just need it in case you want to, you know, go anywhere. With people.
The Winnipeg Jets will require all fans to be fully vaccinated to attend home games at Canada Life Centre this season— Hockey Night in Canada (@hockeynight) August 12, 2021
Read more here https://t.co/kks88mEGGb
Saddest news of the week (so far): Tony Esposito has passed away at age 78 after a brief battle with pancreatic cancer. [Chicago Blackhawks]
NHL Network mourns the passing of Chicago Blackhawks legend Tony Esposito. pic.twitter.com/TiQBF2Yk6c— NHL Network (@NHLNetwork) August 10, 2021
Greetings From Scenic Cedar Park
If you’re in Austin Metro and you’re furious, furious that you didn’t find one of those Ringo bobbleheads, the Texas Stars have good news.
That’s it. That’s the tweet. Enjoy.