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30 in 30

Campbell, Oleksiak lead Stars' top 10 prospects

Saturday, 08.04.2012 / 3:00 AM / 30 in 30

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Some of the Dallas Stars' best prospects will be very close by -- in Austin, playing for the franchise's American Hockey League team, the Texas Stars.

With the offseason acquisitions of Derek Roy, Jaromir Jagr and Ray Whitney, the Stars won't have to rush any of their top young players into front-line spots. There will be opportunities for advancement and NHL jobs, but they will be in less-pressurized areas, which could aid in their development.

The Stars also have quality prospects along the blue line and in net. Here's a look at the Stars' 10 best prospects:


1. Jack Campbell, G -- After two up-and-down seasons in the Ontario Hockey League, Campbell, the team's 2010 first-round pick, will start the season in the AHL.

Campbell joined the Stars with a golden pedigree -- he won championships at the 2009 and 2010 World Under-18 Championship and gold at the 2010 World Junior Championship -- but struggled with Windsor and Sault Ste. Marie the last two seasons, posting 45 wins and 3.62 goals-against average in 91 games.

However, Stars Director of Player Personnel Les Jackson believes that adversity only will help Campbell going forward.

Value in Jagr's work on, off ice for Dallas

Saturday, 08.04.2012 / 3:00 AM / 30 in 30

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

When Jaromir Jagr returned to the NHL after playing three seasons in Russia, he had a lot to learn about how the game currently is played in North America.

Jaromir Jagr
Right Wing - DAL
GOALS: 19 | ASST: 35 | PTS: 54
SOG: 170 | +/-: 5
He certainly showed he was a quick learner, with 19 goals and 35 assists in 73 games with the Philadelphia Flyers last season, plus another eight points in 11 Stanley Cup Playoff games.

Now he'll take that education to Dallas, where he'll try to do for burgeoning star forwards Jamie Benn and Loui Eriksson what he did for Claude Giroux and Scott Hartnell in their season as Jagr's linemates.

Can Jagr, now 40, still be productive?

Durability of Lehtonen one of Stars' six questions

Saturday, 08.04.2012 / 3:00 AM / 30 in 30

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

The Dallas Stars led the Pacific Division on March 30, but they ended the season with five straight losses to miss the playoffs for the fourth straight year.

General manager Joe Nieuwendyk was active in the offseason, bringing in front-line forwards Derek Roy, Ray Whitney and Jaromir Jagr. Will the moves pay off with a return to the postseason?

Here are six questions the Stars face entering the 2012-13 season.

Stars seeking return to postseason play

Saturday, 08.04.2012 / 3:00 AM / 30 in 30

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

During his 20-year, Hall of Fame career, Joe Nieuwendyk missed the playoffs just four times. He's missed the playoffs each of his first three seasons as general manager of the Dallas Stars, but Nieuwendyk has spent the offseason re-shaping the team's roster to prevent him from matching his years of disappointment in two decades as a player.

In a flurry of moves that started at the 2012 NHL Draft and carried through the first week of free agency, the Stars subtracted forwards Mike Ribeiro, Steve Ott and Jake Dowell, and defensemen Sheldon Souray and Adam Pardy, while adding forwards Derek Roy, Jaromir Jagr and Ray Whitney, and defenseman Aaron Rome.

Stars possess depth, intriguing combinations

Saturday, 08.04.2012 / 3:00 AM / 30 in 30

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

The Dallas Stars faded in the final weeks and again failed to make the playoffs, but there were several positives to take from the 2011-12 season.

Jamie Benn solidified his place among the League's elite players and looks like a legit No. 1 center. Goaltender Kari Lehtonen was (mostly) healthy for a second straight season, and posted the best numbers of his NHL career. Philip Larsen became an NHL regular and looks like a bona fide top-four defenseman. Michael Ryder proved a great signing by potting 35 goals.

There were still some issues, but the Stars in their first offseason with new owner Tom Gaglardi made a few significant moves. Scoring depth should be a strength with Jaromir Jagr and Ray Whitney in tow, though banking on full seasons from a pair of 40-year-olds and oft-nicked Derek Roy could be an issue.

Hodgson, Ott could land in Sabres' top six

Friday, 08.03.2012 / 3:00 AM / 30 in 30

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

The first full season for the Buffalo Sabres with owner Terry Pegula began with high expectations after a busy offseason. A concussion for goaltender Ryan Miller didn't help, but several players had subpar offensive seasons and a team that was supposed to be among the elite in the Eastern Conference struggled for much of the campaign.

There was a late surge, and the Sabres nearly squeaked into the Stanley Cup Playoffs (they finished in ninth place, three points from eighth). But Buffalo was one of the biggest disappointments in 2011-12, and general manager Darcy Regier made some alterations this offseason.

When Boston Bruins forward Milan Lucic bowled over Miller in open ice, the team's lack of a sufficient reaction became the linchpin for a narrative about its lack of toughness. The additions could help in that regard, as would better health for Miller and Tyler Ennis. It's possible the Sabres take a big step forward a season later than many pundits expected.

New big centers highlight Sabres' top 10 prospects

Friday, 08.03.2012 / 3:00 AM / 30 in 30

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

It's been a quarter century since the Buffalo Sabres have had an 18-year-old make their roster right after being drafted. Pierre Turgeon did it in 1987, the last time the Sabres had the No. 1 pick.

This year, they could have two teenagers on the roster.

The Sabres traditionally have lacked size up front, especially on their top two lines. General manager Darcy Regier hopes he's eliminated that problem for the future by taking a pair of big centers in the first round of the 2012 NHL Draft.

Rebound by Miller among Sabres' six questions

Friday, 08.03.2012 / 3:00 AM / 30 in 30

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

In back-to-back seasons, the Buffalo Sabres have gotten off to a bad start. They were able to overcome it in 2010-11 and make the playoffs but came up three points short last season.

Buffalo has made the playoffs twice in the past five seasons and hasn’t gotten past the first round since 2007, when the Sabres lost in the Eastern Conference Finals for the second year in a row.

Here are six questions the Sabres face entering the 2012-13 season:

Ryan Miller
Goalie - BUF
RECORD: 31-21-7
GAA: 2.55 | SVP: 0.916
1. Can Ryan Miller return to the form he showed in 2009-10, when he was the best goaltender in the world?

Miller was the MVP at the 2010 Winter Olympics and won the Vezina Trophy four months later. But he hasn't been nearly as good in the past two seasons, though his play improved down the stretch last season after he recovered from an injury, and he nearly carried the Sabres into the playoffs.

The Sabres need Miller to play at an elite level for a full season (as he did in 2009-10) to return to the postseason. A good season from their most important player isn’t good enough.

Small changes for Sabres after missing playoffs

Friday, 08.03.2012 / 3:00 AM / 30 in 30

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

The Buffalo Sabres did a lot of shopping last summer only to come up empty in the Eastern Conference playoff race. So this summer, they opted to pull in the reins.

Owner Terry Pegula, who opened his checkbook last summer to bring in forward Ville Leino and defenseman Christian Ehrhoff, opted not to make any management changes -- meaning Darcy Regier and Lindy Ruff, the NHL's longest-running GM-coach duo, will be back this season. So will No. 1 goaltender Ryan Miller, the top four on defense, and the three top scorers: Jason Pominville (73 points), Thomas Vanek (61) and Drew Stafford (50).

It took a while for the newcomers to mesh last season. For the second year in a row, the Sabres got off to a slow start. But unlike 2010-11, they weren't able to dig out of their early hole and finished ninth, three points out of the last playoff berth in the East.

Ott could change plans for Sabres' foes

Friday, 08.03.2012 / 3:00 AM / 30 in 30

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

Every NHL team wants to be known as one that's tough to play against. With the acquisition of Steve Ott from the Dallas Stars during the summer, the previously pleasant Buffalo Sabres may have achieved that goal.

The Sabres have been known for years as a team that had plenty of skill but was a little short in the grit department. Ott, in contrast, is about as much fun to play against as an angry porcupine; he seems to take great pride in being hated around the League. He'll do anything necessary to win, and he'll step in if he thinks opponents are taking liberties with a teammate -- the Milan Lucic-Ryan Miller incident last season likely would have had a different outcome if Ott had been with the Sabres at the time.

Ott's drive to win made him a fan favorite in Dallas -- and one of the least popular players around the rest of the NHL. Ott, acquired with defenseman Adam Pardy in exchange for Derek Roy, has no intention of changing his style with his new team.

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