By Wednesday, October 8th, at 3pm Eastern the Stars must have their roster down from their current total of 28 to the 23 man maximum. Here is the current 28 man roster
Francis Wathier and Konstantin Pushkarev are no longer practicing with the club so that brings our number of forwards down to 15. I expect they will either trade Pushkarev (he is a restricted free agent) or loan him to a KHL team. I somewhat doubt the latter since he had a bad experience with CSKA Moscow last year, but I am not sure he wants to play in the American League any longer.
I think that Dallas will carry 13 forwards. Morrow, Ribeiro, Lehtinen, Avery, Richards, Modano, Eriksson, Ott, Lundqvist, Petersen, and Barch are, in my opinion, locks to be in that group of 13. That leaves 2 spots available for Conner, Brunnstrom, Neal, and Crombeen.
Crombeen has been one of our best forwards all preseason and had a strong showing at the end of the year last year. Tippett has also said publicly that he has a spot unless he plays himself out of it. I think that he deserves a spot and all indications point to him getting one.
That leaves us with Fabian Brunnstrom the big name free agent that may have been promised a top 9 spot, James Neal who has proven that he is ready for the NHL, and Chris Conner who has a ton of speed, but a very small 5’8 frame. All of which are fighting for that last spot.
I think that it really comes down to whether Brunnstrom was promised a spot in the lineup or not. I believe that he was and that he will be in the opening night lineup.
James Neal will be the first call up and will probably stick on the roster the rest of the year. He is ready for the NHL and if the Stars were not hard against the cap then he would be on the opening night roster. Chris Conner will also be used as a call up, but I don’t expect him to stick for very long. He is a good, speedy player, but his size is his downfall.
With that being said here is my prediction for the opening night lineup of forwards…
Morrow – Ribeiro – Lehtinen
Avery – Richards – Eriksson
Ott – Modano – Brunnstrom
Petersen – Lundqvist – Crombeen
There are 9 defensemen still on the Dallas Roster. Sergei Zubov will start the season on LTIR. I expect Ivan Vishnevskiy to be sent down sometime today to the American League. That leaves us with the 7 defensemen we need. Here is what the D will look like on opening night.
Grossman – Robidas
Daley – Niskanen
Janik – Boucher
Once Sergei Zubov returns I expect that Mark Fistric would be sent down to the American League to work on his puck play while receiving top minutes. Then I believe the D looks like this…
Zubov – Niskanen
Grossman – Robidas
Daley – Boucher
The goaltending tandem of Turco and Stephan was set before training camp even started and although Climie had a pretty surprising camp it will stay with these two.
for most of the information. The opinion, however, is all mine.