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Daley Ready for Next Step

by Travis Betts / Dallas Stars

While Stars head coach Marc Crawford’s new up-tempo system may require an adjustment from some players, for defenseman Trevor Daley, the new style of play may be a perfect fit.

In the second intra-squad scrimmage of the preseason Monday morning, Daley notched two assists. The first came in the 10th minute of the second period, when he made a slick pass from the left point to Mathieu Beaudoin in the high slot, who fired a slap shot past Richard Bachman.

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“We’ve got good players out here,” said Daley. “You get them the puck and they make things happen. That never changes. It’s just a matter of us getting them the puck and them burying it.”

The 25-year-old Toronto native is entering his sixth season in the NHL, all with Dallas. Daley showed his offensive potential in junior hockey, and was drafted by the Stars in the second round in 2002 out of Sault Ste. Marie of the OHL. He scored 53 points in 59 games in 2002-03, his last season at the junior level.

Since making the transition to the NHL in 2003, his offensive production has steadily increased. He established career highs in goals (7) and points (25) in 2008-09, but expects more from himself in the new system.

“Without a doubt, I’m so excited for it. I came into this league as an offensive guy and I was drafted as an offensive guy. So hopefully I can show them why they drafted me.”

Crawford, who is known for using a more aggressive attack that frequently includes defensemen joining the rush, has already put his style of play to work in Dallas. Monday’s scrimmage was a non-stop, end-to-end game with a lot of emphasis placed on quick breakouts from the defensive zone.

Eleven of the 16 defensemen on the Stars training camp roster have prior NHL experience, so there will be plenty of hard-fought competition for a spot on the roster and for more playing time. Daley conceded that establishing chemistry with new players during training camp would be a challenge.

 “Training camp is tough. You get to play with a guy you don’t really get to see much, and it can take a little while to create chemistry. Today I got to play with [Andrew Hutchinson], and we knew each other a little bit. We had some chemistry from last year.”

When asked if it would be tough to go back to playing in a more aggressive system, Daley responded that he was more than ready for the challenge.

 “The adjustment really isn’t huge. I’ve been there before, and I’m ready to take that next step.”

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