Stars vs. Ducks rematch
A New Star Continues to Rise
Strong Leadership permeates throughout
Help is on the way
Second line center Cody Eakin and top four defenseman Brendan Dillon essentially missed all of training camp due to contract negotiations. Thus far in the early season it’s been clear that both players are still shaking off the rust that comes with a missed training camp.
Goalie Kari Lehtonen certainly can’t be blamed for the team’s uneven early season start. Kari has yet to lose a game in regulation. The backup goalie situation however is concerning. Despite his 6’6 215 frame, backup Anders Lindback has been ineffective in two appearances with a .850 save percentage. While it’s a small sample size there is a good chance that Stars prospects Jussi Rynnas and/or Jack Campbell could get the call soon. If those options don’t work out the Stars front office will have to weigh the risk/reward of obtaining a veteran backup goaltender.
Due to nagging groin and hip injuries, second year pro Valeri Nichuskin has yet to play an NHL game this season. Valeri is skating with the Texas Stars this weekend and should be back with the big club soon. He gives the Stars another invaluable top 6 option upfront. Currently the Stars are relying heavily on the Benn, Spezza, Seguin line which is among the NHL’s best trios. Tyler Seguin (7 g 8 a) is tied with Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby and Philadelphia’s Jakob Voracek for an NHL leading 15 points. Newcomer Jason Spezza is 5th in the NHL in assists with 10 helpers and Jamie Benn is off to a fine start with 5 goals and 6 assists. After that 3rd line winger Antoine Roussel has 4 goals and veteran 2nd line winger Erik Cole has chipped in 3 goals.
Prior to the start of this season, General Manager Jim Nill made it no secret that he covets a legitimate #1 defenseman. Sergei Gonchar was originally thought to be that piece when he signed (2 yrs $10 mil) but he underwhelmed in 2013-2014, and hasn’t played yet this season after breaking his ankle just prior to opening night. Gonchar is now skating but his return date is to be determined. In the meantime, Trevor Daley and Alex Goligoski have risen to the challenge as the team’s top defensive pairing. Daley is tied with the Ducks Corey Perry for most power-play goals in the NHL with 4.