Friday, September 26, 2014

Several Texas Stars Looking to Make an Impression in This Weekend's Preseason Games

With Texas Stars camp starting early next week, it is expected that the first round of assignments to Texas will come this Sunday. According to Josh Bogorad, ten players will be making their debuts tonight, including several former Texas Stars:
Sceviour is a lock for the opening roster. Ritchie and Klingberg are expected to fight for roster spots, especially with the on-going disputes around the contracts for Brenden Dillon and Cody Eakin. Tonight's game is a big one for Brett Ritchie. After getting injured in Traverse City, it's his first game action since. He was reportedly dominating in the tournament after manhandling the AHL's best throughout the playoffs in Texas. If he is eventually assigned to Cedar Park, we could see a Colton Sceviour-like season out of him: high goal numbers and a late season callup, after which he is never seen again.

Another Texas Star making noise in the preseason is Jyrki Jokipakka. The Finn with finesse has been making waves thanks to his touch on offense and his solid positioning on defense. After some rough spots early in the 2013-14 campaign, Jokipakka became a lineup staple for Texas.
I personally expect him to spend most of the season with Texas. Depending on what type of power play style Coach Laxdal rolls out, Jokipakka could see time on the power play this season along with Swede John Klingberg (if he comes to Texas at all). Pair left-shot vet Derek Meech with right-shot Klingberg and lefty Jokipakka with righty vet Maxime Fortunus at the points and you could have a nice power play set up for the season.

This weekend's game are the biggest for players who are on that next level, the second line of callups. After the McKenzies, Ritchies and Morins have been called, where do they go? Is it speedy winger Brendan Ranford? Is it deft center Justin Dowling? Now is the time to make that impression so that when injury strikes in November or December or January, Lindy Ruff calls your name.

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