The Dallas Stars are noticeably a team in the midst of a transition. While on the ice they are performing well, most of us recognize that some things are changing here in Dallas. A few big names have moved on or retired in the last couple of years, a change was made in the crease, a new coaching staff was brought in this past summer, and the team finally is under new ownership. On the ice we have seen Jamie Benn, Loui Eriksson, Trevor Daley, Kari Lehtonen, and last season’s addition Alex Goligoski become part of a new core of players in their mid 20’s. But in the midst of their success so far this season the Stars have also witnessed a few young men go from guys we hoped to see in the future, to players that could be making a case to stay in Dallas right now.
Philip Larsen is the first name that comes to mind. While we have seen a young goalie become possibly the best back-up option for Dallas (more on that further down), the young defensemen from Denmark is showing why he has been considered one of their best prospects in the last couple of years. While he doesn’t look dangerous or intimidating off the ice (he still looks like a high school kid), at 22 years-old he is already showing signs that he might have a good NHL career ahead of him. After injuries plagued the Stars in recent weeks, Larsen went from the top blueliner with the Texas Stars to a regular in the lineup in the NHL. In 15 games he has only chipped in two assists but he is a +2 and is averaging over sixteen minutes a game. He consistently makes the little plays and passes in his own end that you would expect from a veteran like Goligoski or Daley and has impressed me the few times I have seen him play at ice level the last few weeks. He can skate, think quickly when the puck comes to him, and even isn’t afraid to throw the body around a little when most have him pinned as just a puck moving Dman. But the problem is where does he fit in when everyone is healthy. We saw that he could play in the preseason and he pushed for a spot with the NHL team. But with Adam Pardy and Mark Fistric both fighting for the sixth spot, Larsen was sent down to the AHL while Pardy and Fistric rotated into the lineup. While Pardy was signed to a nice two-year deal for $4 million over the summer, we knew he was strictly a big body to play in his own end and he hasn’t impressed many this season. With a -5 in only 14 games and really only getting chances to play when others can’t, Pardy looks like a bust early on. Fistric on the other-hand has been a fan favorite and often looked-over commodity the last couple of years. While he has developed into a great checker and solid bottom pairing defenseman, he has constantly had to fight for playing time and the addition of Pardy with the growth of Larsen may mean that he will only have a bigger battle ahead for minutes on the ice.
So the Stars need to figure out something on defense. Sounds alright. Until you look at the forwards. Eric Nystrom has been a huge addition that most of us didn’t even think would do much when the Stars had to acquire him to stay above the cap. Tomas Vincour has been fighting to stay at the NHL level despite the offensive numbers not coming in. He has shown he can score down in Austin, and looks good on the ice most nights here in Dallas, but offensively the kid is still trying to find his game in the pros. We might have to wait a while to see if he can get it going now since he is injured, but he still could stay once back. Then the Stars also have Jake Dowell, Toby Petersen, and Tom Wandell in the bottom six fighting to play. While each brings their own talents, none are really looking like long-term pieces that will be a big part of the Stars franchise. Petersen can skate, but has been a spare for many years. Dowell provides more physicality and gusto, but he looks like most 4th liners. And Wandell was someone we had high hopes for a couple of seasons ago, but at this point he might be an example of what Vincour could be if he never finds his offensive side.
Then there is young Richard Bachman. The former Colorado College standout has stolen the crease in Kari’s absence, and with the clock now ticking towards his return, does Bachman stay in Dallas? Andrew Raycroft was the back-up but his contract is up after this season and more than anything the Stars have learned why the former 1st round pick has bounced from team to team. He can provide a great start every couple of weeks, but his inconsistency is troubling and he should almost never be called upon to start multiple games in a row. Bachman on the other hand busted into the NHL with authority. Despite a couple of rough games recently, he is still 4-2-0 in his first six starts in the NHL and some fans are already behind the bandwagon for him to replace Raycroft midseason instead of during the summer. He displays great agility, recovers well, and for a small netminder is displaying some good fundamentals so far.
So who should the Stars keep? Who should go? I have my opinions. I’m all for Bachman and Larsen at this point. But I want to know what everyone else thinks. You make the call. Pick the two players who you think the Stars should not keep on the roster, either by sending them down to Austin or trading them. You can even post your opinions in the comments, and let me know how you feel.
Who would you NOT keep on the Stars current roster?
- Andrew Raycroft (51%, 21 Votes)
- Adam Pardy (49%, 20 Votes)
- Jake Dowell (17%, 7 Votes)
- Philip Larsen (10%, 4 Votes)
- Richard Bachman (5%, 2 Votes)
- Tom Wandell (5%, 2 Votes)
- Mark Fistric (5%, 2 Votes)
- Toby Peterson (5%, 2 Votes)
- Tomas Vincour (2%, 1 Votes)
Total Voters: 41
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