The Dallas Stars are on a roll lately, going 4-1-1 in their last six games and winning their last three, but now they’ll have a new face in the line-up this season.
Hanzal will start the game on the second line in the center spot, which is where he was supposed to slot in after his signing to help out the struggling Jason Spezza.
The problem with putting him right into the top six is that he hasn’t played in almost a year at this point and that’s a pretty crucial position.
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It’s been a wild week in Stars news considering the fact that they haven’t had a game since Monday, but most of what’s happened has been because of Hanzal’s return.
First, the Stars put Gemel Smith on waivers to open up a spot for Hanzal on the roster, choosing to keep Roope Hintz up over Smith. In doing so, they lost him to the Boston Bruins, who picked him up. He’s the second forward they’ve lost to waivers this season after the Sabres picked up Remi Elie in October.
After getting Smith out of the way, they still sent waivers-exempt Hintz down to the AHL. Hintz would’ve been healthy scratched tonight, so the team sent him down to get some playing time instead of having him sit on the bench. It’s an understandable call to have him play instead of sit, but they could’ve simply benched someone else who wasn’t performing instead.
Hintz has shown promise in his chances at the second-line center role, and many Stars fans have him penciled in to take over that spot in the near future with good reason. However, with Hanzal coming back to challenge for that spot, it leaves Hintz to either play on the fourth line or play in the AHL.
How Hanzal plays tonight and over the next few games will have a big impact on how things shake out going forward for this roster. If he’s playing at top form, it’s a solid boost for a middle-of-the-pack team, but most fans are just crossing their fingers that he doesn’t get injured again and leave the Stars with more questions.
San Jose Sharks (14-10-5) at Dallas Stars (15-10-3)
7:00 PM CT – American Airlines Center – Dallas, TX
Home TV: FOX Sports Southwest (Josh Bogorad and Daryl Reaugh)
Away TV: NBC Sports California (Randy Hahn)
Home Radio: Sportsradio 1310 AM and 96.7 FM The Ticket (Josh Bogorad and Daryl Reaugh)
Away Radio: 98.5 KFOX (Dan Rusanowsky)
Online Streaming: NHL.tv, Fubo.tv
Last Season vs. San Jose: 2-1-0
This Season vs. San Jose: 1-0-0
Dallas Stars Projected Line-Up
Dallas Stars Injury Report
For the first time this season, the injury report doesn’t feature Martin Hanzal.
Connor Carrick: Carrick should be back around Christmas after being out for more than a month now.
Stephen Johns: There’s no update on Johns at this point, and no update on when there might be a new update.
John Klingberg: Klingberg is also hoping to return around Christmas, which would be a welcome relief for the Stars’ power play.
Marc Methot: Methot is still a few weeks away, but no exact estimate has been set yet.
San Jose Sharks Injury Report
There’s nothing to report on the Sharks end for injuries, lucky for them.
If the Stars can grab a fourth consecutive win tonight, they’ll be on their longest streak of the season. They beat the Sharks last month, and they’ll try to do so again tonight.