|We're gettin' the band back together, boys. (Credit: Josh Rasmussen/Texas Stars)|
Texas got the expected additions of Reilly Smith, Alex Chiasson and Jordie Benn. Based on his recovery timeline in Dallas and the fact that he was sent down, Chiasson looks to be ready to play on Wednesday.
Texas will have an abundance of top six talent with this infusion. It would be very difficult to knock any of the players on the ice on Friday and Saturday out of the top six. First inclinations would be to put Alex Chiasson back on a line with Dowling and Hedden. That leaves Ritchie and Smith without homes. Both deserve top six minutes so it will be interesting to see what lines look like in practice this week.
On defense, it would seem that the Commodore/Klingberg spot is the one open rotation slot in the blue line roster. Those two paired with Gaunce on the weekend set, Commodore on Friday and Klingberg on Saturday. Benn could slide in there and lock-in the pairings for the duration. That all depends on how much Desjardins wants Commodore in the lineup on a given night.
Milwaukee, meanwhile, got a lot of guys back, six in fact. Including among them was Chris Mueller, a thorn in the side of the Stars in 2011, especially during his pairings with Gabriel Bourque. Bourque is pulling NHL paychecks down for now, but Mueller is still dangerous. He had 36 points in 55 games. He also had five points in eighteen games in Nashville.
The Ads also received RW Daniel Bang (9-13-22 in 55GP), LW Joonas Rask (1-1-2 in 1GP), LW Kevin Henderson (17-12-29 in 67GP), RW Taylor Beck (11-30-41 in 50GP) and D Victor Bartley (7-19-26 in 54GP). The eighth seed just got a lot harder to play against.
The good news for Texas, of course, is that they managed a split in Milwaukee instead of coming home 0-2. Elsewhere in the league, every series with a 2-3 setup saw a split of the first two games. Meanwhile, all other series had the same team take both of the first two games. That includes eighth seed Hershey going 2-0 on Providence at home and fifth seed Wilkes-Barre going up 2-0 on Binghamton. Those clubs could be in trouble as they head to their opponents' barns with absolutely no margin for error.
More information as the week progresses on those lineup choices...