Injuries, a significant factor in the Dallas Stars disappointing season, continue to haunt the club as according to Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News, Antoine Roussel is now expected to miss essentially the rest of the season with a hand injury. The physical winger, who leads the NHL in PIM’s with 115, is in the midst of a career offensive campaign with 12 goals and 27 points in 60 appearances. Given that pace, Roussel would have finished with roughly 16 goals and 37 points had he completed the campaign healthy. Instead it appears as if the Stars will be without another of their key contributors for a lengthy stretch.
The bright side, if it can really be called that, is the Stars now have the opportunity to see what some of their AHL talent can do at the NHL level. First up will be Remi Elie, the team’s second-round draft choice in 2013 who has 25 points in 50 games with the AHL’s Texas Stars. Elie was called up last week but didn’t get into a game. Now it appears he will make his NHL debut after the team recalled him from Texas on an emergency basis.
Heika also reports that forward Adam Cracknell, out since February 18th with a lower-body injury, may be ready to return to the lineup as early as Monday when the Stars travel to Washington to face the Capitals. Cracknell, a veteran of seven NHL campaigns, is having a solid season with a career-high seven goals in 52 games while registering a +10 plus/minus rating.
The news of Roussel’s injury comes on the heels of the long-awaited return of scoring forward Ales Hemsky, who made just his second appearance of the season following surgery to repair a groin injury suffered during the World Cup. In a separate piece for the Dallas Morning News, Heika writes that Hemsky “hopes to make a statement” down the stretch in order to prove that he is once again fully healthy and able to contribute secondary scoring to teams who may be in that market this summer. Hemsky, in the final year of a three-year deal with the Stars, is poised to hit free agency and a strong performance in the season’s final leg would likely position the 33-year-old winger to earn an NHL contract next year despite missing much of the current campaign.
For his part, the veteran of 14 NHL seasons would like to return to Dallas and rekindle the chemistry he shared with Radek Faksa and Roussel in 2015-16. According to Heika, that trio was at times the Stars’ best line for a three-month stretch last year and given the likelihood the team will fancy itself a potential contender next season, bringing back a healthy and productive Hemsky on a short-term deal could prove to be a wise and relatively inexpensive move.