The Dallas Stars have a decimated blue line, and Gavin Bayreuther will be the latest defenseman to get his shot at impressing Jim Montgomery.
Bayreuther hasn’t played in an NHL game before, but he spent four years playing in college at St. Lawrence before joining the Texas Stars near the end of the 2016-17 season, where he has played ever since.
Montgomery and the rest of the coaching staff were impressed with Bayreuther during training camp and preseason. He made it further than most of the other defensive prospects before ultimately missing the final cut.
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He had a concussion early in the season that took him out for a while, but he’s healthy and back in the line-up now. Since returning from injury, he’s looked good, and it’s no surprise that the Stars were feeling like he should get a chance.
With Bayreuther coming up, it means Gleason is staying down while Joel Hanley stays with the Stars. Gleason’s been arguably the better player between them, but it could have to do with contracts. Gleason and Bayreuther are both exempt from waivers, while Hanley is not. If the Stars think Hanley might get picked up, which seems unlikely at this point, they could be keeping him up for that.
However, it’s probably just that Montgomery likes what Hanley is bringing to the table more. He was the first up when John Klingberg went on IR. Gleason was only called up to replace Roman Polak when he was sick, but Gleason looked better overall.
No matter which defensemen come up, the reality is still that the Stars are debating which of their depth AHL guys should be up to try and fill in for John Klingberg. There’s no one that’s going to be able to fill his skates, but the Stars have to try.
The defensive pairs have been switching around mid-game lately, so the actual pairings are a bit of a question mark, but it looks like tomorrow night’s group against Boston will be the same with just the swap of Bayreuther in place of Gleason. That means Bayreuther will join Polak, Hanley, Miro Heiskanen, Esa Lindell, and Julius Honka.
As far as the defensive injury updates go, Connor Carrick is reportedly out until December at least, just like Klingberg. Marc Methot should start skating again soon, but there’s no set timetable for his return. Stephen Johns is the biggest question mark, as he has been all season, and he hasn’t been skating for almost two weeks.
Bayreuther seems like he can be a decent stop-gap for now, but the Stars need to hope Methot at least can make it back soon to give them some more options.