Saturday, September 24, 2016

Texas Stars Looking to Surprise, Force Big Decisions at Dallas Camp

Philippe Desrosiers (Credit: Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)
As far as the Texas Stars are concerned, the Dallas Stars training camp is a chance to impress and maybe change some minds. Jim Nill and the Dallas brass clearly have some idea of what their team will look like on opening night. However, training camp is a chance for players potential originally destined for the Texas Stars or even Idaho Steelheads to make Nill, Scott White and their crew think twice.

Jamie Benn is your prototypical example. If you happen to still possess a Texas Stars inaugural season, opening night program, you'll notice Jamie Benn listed among the players for the AHL squad. Benn came into camp as a rookie and turned heads, leading him to the NHL as a first-year pro. Players like Mattias Janmark have done similar things in recent seasons.

Who is going to change minds this season?

The players in the forward ranks have given Dallas an embarrassment of riches for depth call-ups. That's probably a good thing because Tyler Seguin, Jason Dickinson and Radek Faksa's injuries/surgeries have put a kink in the works. Another bright spot, Devin Shore, is coming off a season that started with a spark but ended with shoulder surgery mid-season. He had been a full participant in training camp on a line with Brendan Ranford and Curtis McKenzie until he left the ice with an apparent injury in the second session today.

On another new player note, Denis Gurianov was impressive. He's a big kid with hands. It was unclear what Dallas was going to see out of him this season coming in. He's in the plans for the Texas Stars this year.

In net, the AHL battle lines are clearly drawn. Maxime Lagace would seem to be the incumbent, but it's unclear if he has the starter role in Texas locked in. At the end of the playoffs last year, Jack Campbell took the starting role away despite the clear notion that he did not have a future in Dallas. Philippe Desrosiers is hungry for a chance at the AHL level after spending most of last season in Boise.

And now, Landon Bow is the newest challenger. Part of the decision boils down to how many games each one is expected to play. If you're alright splitting time between Desrosiers and Lagace evenly in Cedar Park, then you send Bow and Henrik Kiviaho to the ECHL. If not, you bring Bow to the AHL and let Desrosiers get a ton of starts in the ECHL. Of course, what is the additional value of getting him starts there against AA competition as opposed to AAA competition?

Tomorrow's scrimmage should see these players a little bit closer to game speed and give everyone in attendance a better chance to evaluate the talent.

Injury updates:

  • Cody Eakin is out 6 weeks with a knee injury sustained yesterday.
  • Devin Shore is out for "some time" with a lower body injury sustained today in practice.

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