Saturday, October 5, 2013

Gameday Preview: Stars v. Chicago Wolves

Texas Stars
0-0-0-0, 0 pts
#- Western Conference
v.Chicago Wolves
1-0-0-0, 2 pts
#- Western Conference
October 5th at 7:00 PM
Cedar Park Center, Cedar Park, TX

Welcome to the 2013-14 AHL season. Perennial AHL power Chicago visits the Cedar Park Center tonight to open the curtain on the Stars' fifth year squad after opening the AT&T Center for business last night in San Antonio.

As far as previewing the Texas Stars, the preview that I wrote for Defending Big D is a good big picture summary of where the team is as they get ready for this game tonight.

The Wolves, on the other hand, require more introduction. After several years with Vancouver, the Chicago AHL club has now become the farm team for the St. Louis Blues. Therefore, the club should have some familiar names from last year's Peoria Rivermen squad.

Goaltending is the first spot where two familiar names appear. Jake Allen played in Peoria last year and then impressed many with late season service in St. Louis as well. He's back in the AHL now behind Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliot in the NHL. He's going to need to be a dominant player in this league to keep his momentum going. There's no reason to believe he won't be though. Former Texas Star Matt Climie is also still with the Wolves, despite the affiliation change, owing to his AHL contract with them.

On the backend, the Wolves have added Evan Oberg, a former Calder Cup champ with Norfolk. Oberg has played a handful of NHL games over his career but is a solid AHL defenseman. Some fans may remember him from limited action with the San Antonio Rampage two years ago. Oberg only played two games against Texas in his 12 games in the Alamo City and both were at the AT&T Center.

Up front it gets dangerous. Corey Locke, former league MVP and four-time AHL all-star, signed on with the Wolves after a year split between Finland and Germany. He's a dominant force and gets help with the addition of Keith Aucoin to the roster. Aucoin has more than a handful of NHL games, two AHL championships, a league MVP and four visits to the All-Star game. Watch for both.

Youngsters to watch for include rookie Ty Rattie, St. Louis's second round pick in 2011. Rattie put together 151 goals and 197 assists in his junior career of just 269 games. He even added a dominant 12 point effort in five games of the Memorial Cup last season. Watch for him to break out.

Stars injury/call up report:
Smith (injured, questionable)

Website: chicagowolves.com
Twitter: @Chicago_Wolves
Twitter: @theshaves (Wolves PxP)

1 comment:

  1. Maybe no team other than Hersey does as good a job bringing in AHL contract guys than Chicago. It's a wonder they have struggled the past few years.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for commenting. Remember to keep it civil. Using a name will help us identify replies and build a Texas Stars community.