Stars coach Lindy Ruff didn’t put an exact time frame on how long defenseman Trevor Daley is going to be out, but indicated it’s going to be a while.
“He was evaluated this morning and he is going to be out weeks,” Ruff said after Friday’s practice in Frisco. “We’ll see where we end up with that.”
Daley suffered what appeared to be an ankle injury in Thursday’s game in Toronto when he got tangled up with Maple Leafs forward James van Riemsdyk and fell awkwardly. The Stars placed Daley on injured reserve Friday afternoon with what is officially being called a lower body injury.
Stars GM Jim Nill said the team will continue to roll with the defensemen they have now.
“We’ll go with what we’ve got. We’ve been happy.” Nill said. “This is a good opportunity for the young guys. I thought last night [Jamie] Oleksiak and [Kevin] Connauton both came in and played well. We’ve got Jordie Benn (a healthy scratch Thursday) who is going to get back in the lineup. We’ve got Aaron Rome who is injured, but coming back. So, we’ve got that extra guy there. We’re going to be OK.”
Connauton, who had played only one game this season until this week, has played the last two. He picked up his first NHL point Thursday in Toronto, assisting on Shawn Horcoff’s game-tying power play goal.
“Getting in the lineup two games in a row is a huge confidence boost for me,” Connauton said. “It’s part of the process, and you’ve got to keep building, keep moving upwards. I am just going to take it game-by-game and my focus is on tomorrow. With this opportunity in front of me, it’s time to work even harder.”
Oleksiak, who started the season in the AHL, has played two of the last three games for Dallas, and is gaining confidence as well.
“I’ve been given a great opportunity here and I am just trying to do the most with it,” Oleksiak said. “I’m feeling more comfortable as the games go on and I get some minutes. I’m getting some confidence in my game, getting used to the pace. I am feeling good.”
Ruff said he’s liked what he’s seen from both of the young defensemen so far, especially in the Stars’ end of the ice.
“Defending they’ve been good,” Ruff said. “First and foremost when you evaluated any D, it is how they are defending and both players have handled their situations inside of the game well.”
As a group, the Stars will have to step up to fill the void left by the absence of Daley and Stephane Robidas, who suffered a leg fracture last Friday and will be out 4-6 months.
“Those are a couple of big losses. We’re just going to have to try to make up for those minutes,” said defenseman Alex Goligoski, who logged a team-high 30:13 of ice time Thursday night in Toronto . “A big part of it is those guys played in every situation, power play, penalty kill, four-on-four, the end of games. That’s situational stuff we are really going to have to focus on. And obviously playing against other team’s top lines, we’ve got to make sure we’re not turning pucks over when those guys are out there.”
Garbutt expected to play Saturday
Stars forward Ryan Garbutt, who missed Friday’s game with a bone bruise in his ankle/foot, practiced Friday and is expected to play Saturday against Philadelphia.
“Garbutt looked good,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “It looks like he’ll be able to go.”
Garbutt was injured in Tuesday’s game in Chicago when he was hit by a shot off the stick of Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook.
“It feels a lot better than it did yesterday,” Garbutt said.
Notes: Morin back to AHL
*The Stars assigned center Travis Morin to the Texas Stars of the AHL Friday.
*Defenseman Aaron Rome, who is out with a muscle issue, practiced Friday. Stars coach Lindy Ruff said he didn’t expect Rome, who is still on injured resereve, to be ready by to play by Saturday.
Friday practice lineup
Jamie Benn – Tyler Seguin – Valeri Nichushkin
Ray Whitney – Cody Eakin – Alex Chiasson
Erik Cole – Shawn Horcoff – Rich Peverley
Antoine Roussel – Vernon Fiddler – Ryan Garbutt
Dustin Jeffrey-Travis Morin
Defense pairs were mixed with Brenden Dillon, Alex Goligoski, Jordie Benn, Sergei Gonchar, Jamie Oleksiak, Kevin Connauton and Aaron Rome
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.