One concern with allowing NHLers to participate in international tournaments such as the Winter Olympics and World Cup is the prospect of losing key players to injury either during the season or just prior. The Dallas Stars, for example, saw star center Tyler Seguin suffer a hairline fracture to his foot which has prevented him from playing in any exhibition games. Top-nine winger Ales Hemsky injured a groin during the recent World Cup and has also been held out of preseason action with the Stars.
Mike Heika of The Dallas Morning News has the latest updates on the health of the two forwards and the roster shuffling the team has undergone in their absence. The news on Seguin is optimistic even though he has yet to see any game action. Heika reports Seguin is a full participant during practice and according to head coach Lindy Ruff, should “in all likelihood,” be available to play opening night.
On the flip side, Hemsky’s rehab is not going well. He experienced a setback recently and is expected to be re-evaluated early next week.
Dallas recently added Justin Fontaine via PTO to add depth. Fontaine netted 16 points in 60 games with the Minnesota Wild this past season and was recently released from his PTO with Florida.
In addition to being without Seguin and Hemsky, the Stars are also missing Cody Eakin – out until November – and Mattias Janmark – out until April – both due to knee injuries. With nearly $6MM in available cap space, it’s possible the Stars could look to the trade market or waiver wire to bring in additional depth up front or they could simply try to weather the storm with what they already have on the roster.
More from the Western Conference:
- The Colorado Avalanche recently sent defense prospect Chris Bigras to their AHL affiliate in San Antonio but as Terry Frei of the Denver Post writes, the demotion had little to do with his play in training camp and more to do with ensuring the 21-year-old blue liner gets plenty of quality ice time. The Avalanche have plenty of quality players to fully staff the big league blue line and Bigras likely would have spent much of his time in the press box had he remained in Colorado. Bigras made his Avalanche debut last year, recording his first NHL goal and adding two assists in 31 games. With offseason free agent acquisition Fedor Tyutin set to hit the open market again next summer, and with three other defensmen – Eric Gelinas, Nikita Zadorov and Patrick Wiercioch – scheduled for restricted free agency, Birgas’ chances of making the team and earning a key role next year should be much better.
- As teams continue to trim down their rosters in advance of the start of the regular season, Jon Rosen of LA Kings Insider writes about two players facing very different challenges as they try to survive final cuts. Devin Setoguchi, who is in camp on a PTO, realizes this could be his final chance to make an NHL club and is aware his performance in the team’s final two exhibition contests is vital: “I think it comes down to these last two games, and obviously I’m still here and have done something to this point to maybe keep them a little intrigued. Definitely I feel like there’s a lot riding on these next two games that I have to play.” Meanwhile, Adrian Kempe, the 20-year-old selected by the Kings in the 2014 draft, is just beginning his pro career and should he fail to make the Kings team this year, he’ll likely have many more opportunities to do so: “I came over really wanting to take a spot and that’s my goal. That’s been my goal the whole last year. It’s going to keep being my goal till I make it. I made a good camp, I think I played good in the games too and I’m still up, so I don’t know what’s going to happen after this weekend, but we’ve got two games left here and we’ll see what happens, but I feel good out there, so that’s good.” While not necessarily in direct competition for a roster spot, Rosen notes that Kempe’s versatility – he can play both wing and center – could prove to be an advantage. On the flip side, if the Kings like what they see from Setoguchi and feel he can again resemble the player who once netted 31 goals in a season, he could help fill the void created by Marian Gaborik’s foot injury.