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LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, YOUR 2010-11 DALLAS STARS !

Posted By Travis Currie On Oct 8 2010 @ 12:27 am In Dallas Stars | 5 Comments

I pretty much just needed to copy and paste last year’s roster. With just a few tweaks, I present your 2010-11 Dallas Stars.

FORWARDS

KRYS BARCH - Only expected to bring toughness and energy to the lineup.

JAMIE BENN - The 21 year old proved to be a star in the making last season. Should only get better given the oppurtunity. He’ll center the 3rd line with Tom Wandell and Steve Ott. He’s big and he’s a natural sniper.

FABIAN BRUNNSTROM - In his third season, he’s going to be expected to bounce back from a horrible sophomore season where he just could not find a spot.  Needs to prove he can adapt to the North American game.

ADAM BURISH - New addition from Chicago will start alongside Ribeiro and Morrow on the second line and will be expected to add grit and energy. They’re hoping he can chip in on offense more than what he was expected to in Chicago aswell.

LOUI ERIKSSON - Will take his spot on the top line with Richards and Neal and should continue his rise to stardom. Quite possibly their best 2-way player, he will be expected to lead the way in goals again and likely will.

BRENDEN MORROW - Captain Clutch will be expected to bounce back from a season ending knee injury in 2008-09. Though he earned a spot on Team Canada, last year was a forgettable one for Morrow. He couldn’t find any consistency. No excuses this year. A return to form would go a long way in the Stars getting back to the playoffs.

JAMES NEAL - The Real Deal wanted to be more consistent in his sophomore season last year and for the most part he was. Entering his third season, he’ll be expected to improve even more. Playing up on the top line, the 23 year old’s numbers should take another jump. Taking a step forward and being even more consistent this year would be huge for the Stars.

STEVE OTT – The league’s #1 pest is not just a pest anymore. He can score, win faceoffs, and play in any situation. He’s scored 52 goals over the last 3 seasons ( 11, 19, and 22 last year ) despite missing a total of 36 games. He can play pretty much anywhere but will begin on the third line with Tom Wandell and Jamie Benn. He just needs to continue what he’s doing and step up in the leadership department.

TOBY PETERSEN – A useful player that can skate like the wind. Not expected to score a lot. And he won’t. But he will play a role. Especially now that some of the elders have moved on, he’ll be moved up the charts in the leadership department aswell.

MIKE RIBEIRO – The #2 center really needs to find his game again. A return to that 2007-08 form would help the Stars immensely. He and Morrow need to find that spark again. Hopefully Adam Burish playing alongside will add some energy.

BRAD RICHARDS – After a monster 91 point season had him finish seventh in league scoring last year, I don’t expect him to improve offensively. That’s likely his ceiling. Aslong as he can continue to make other players around him better and quarterback the power play, then he’s doing his job and that’s going to be needed for the Stars to succeed. It’s a contract year for him and it’s rumored that he may not finish the season in Dallas.

BRANDON SEGAL – After being plucked off of waivers from the Kings last year, he performed fairly well for the Stars, scoring 5 goals and 5 assists in 19 games. He had some time alongside Ribeiro and Morrow and added some grit. Will likely move around in the lineup this year unless he finds a definite niche somewhere.

BRIAN SUTHERBY – Another energy guy with some grit. Not alot of offense is expected. A role player that is needed for any team to be successful.

TOM WANDELL – The 23 year old Swede suffered a season-ending knee injury last January but is expected to be ready to go. He’ll start at wing along side Jamie Benn and Steve Ott. He’s by no means a lock to remain in the bigs the entire season. He still needs to prove he can play the North American game. He’s a slick puck carrier and has good 2-way instincts aswell. If he can adapt and stay healthy he could improve on the offensive side of things and people other than Stars fans could know his name one day soon. The ability is there for sure.

DEFENSEMEN

TREVOR DALEY – Has the ability to quarterback the offense from the back end. His strength is his skating and he’ll be expected to finally take a step forward and be more dependable as far as bringing the puck up the ice and into the offensive zone, aswell as rounding out his defensive game. If he can take that step forward, that would be a big help.

MARK FISTRIC – He took a definite step forward last year. He quietly lead the Stars in +- with a remarkable +27. Now take into account that the next best on the team was Brian Sutherby at +8. He wont be scoring a lot but the Stars are hoping he can become a shutdown guy. He showed a lot of that last year and showing more of it this year will be expected now that he has 140 regular season games under his belt over the last 3 seasons. Should be a cornerstone on the defense core for years.

NICKLAS GROSSMAN – Same boat as Fistric. The big Swede should be a cornerstone on the defense core for years. He has 222 regular season games experience now and is only getting better. Hopefully this year will be his breakout season as far as being a shutdown d-man in the league.

MATT NISKANEN – He’s suppose to be  a puck carrier and provide offense. He hasn’t exactly filled out yet and at times looks unable to handle his own in the defenseive end. That’s no secret to anyone but he’s still young and if he can work hard towards improving in those areas then he, like Trevor Daley, can take that much awaited step forward.

STEPHANE ROBIDAS – A true wrrior in every sense of the word. He was invited to Team Canada’s camp last year and deservedly so. He’s the #1 guy as far as defense goes in Dallas. He does all he can do to help the team and that will only continue. A total heart and soul guy who can skate, shoot, block shots, hit, and take a hit. But the Stars really need to bring in another d-man or two to help him out and relieve some pressure off of him. Though that seems to be when he thrives, relying on him so heavily isn’t best for the team overall. But he will continue to carry the heavy load on the back end as best he can. Definitely one of the league’s most underrated players.

KARLIS SKRASTINS – The journeyman Latvian will only be expected to defend and block shots. At 36, he’s now the eldest member of the Stars.

JEFF WOYWITKA – He’ll continue to see limited icetime and only be expected to defend and work hard. A 7th defenseman. You wont see his name on the stats sheet very often.

GOALIES

KARI LEHTONEN – He was lights out in the preseason. Stopping 75 of 77 shots in 8 periods of play. It’s only preseason, but when it’s coming from a guy who was drafted 2nd overall 8 seasons ago who probably still has his better days ahead of him, it’s a good sign. If he can stay healthy, he could finally solidify himself as a true #1 goalie and make Joe Nieuwendyk look like a genius. If the Stars can make the playoffs, he’ll likely be a major reason why.

ANDREW RAYCROFT – Trivia question of the day. Who won the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s rookie of the year in 2003 ? If you said Andrew Raycroft, you’re wrong. It was Barret Jackman of the St.Louis Blues. Raycroft won it in 2004. I know that wasn’t fair. Anyways, Raycroft has fallen off quite abit since then and almost played himself out of the league with the Leafs a few seasons ago. But he rejuvinated himself last year somewhat backing up Roberto Luongo in Vancouver. He filled in nicely with a 2.42 GAA and a .911 Sv% while posting a 9-5 record in 21 games.

WATCH FOR

PHILIP LARSEN – The 20 year old Danish defenseman was a possibility to crack the lineup this year, and he came close. He’s a slick puck mover and smart defensively. He should be a bright spot in the Stars future and will likely see some more ice in Dallas this season at some point.

AARON GAGNON – Gagnon was a longshot. Being drafted 240th overall by the Phoenix Coyotes in 2004. He was big in the playoffs for the Texas Stars in last season’s run to the Calder Cup Final, scoring 8 goals in 24 games. He had a good camp and made it hard to send him down.

TOMAS VINCOUR – Drafted 129th overall in 2009, he was a definite steal. At 19, the 6’2 Czech made an impression at camp and definitely pushed for a roster spot. He’s a talented offensive player and someone to watch for or sure. Like Larsen and Gagnon, he was one of the last cuts by the Stars.

So looking at the current roster, no big changes from last year other than a few minuses. Adding Adam Burish and Andrew Raycroft isn’t exactly like adding Ed Belfour and then Brett Hull. But there’s something to be said for a team with their backs against the wall if they can have the right attitude and be on the same page with eachother. A changing of the guard with the elders of the team, a new crop of youngsters;  the likes in which we havn’t been able to groom in years, and a new starting goaltender with loads of potential.

Any improvements will have to come from within. Which isn’t out of the question. The keys to the Stars success will be the progression of the young core, Mike Ribeiro and Brenden Morrow finding that old chemistry, and Kari Lehtonen staying healthy. Those are ifs that are keeping anyone from predicting the Stars to do anything this year. But IF they can come to fruition, then this team could surprise. If not, then it will be another long year. But let’s take it for what it’s worth; a clean slate, no expectations, some fine young players we can watch become NHL stars, and a first step towards the Dallas Stars being put back on the map.

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