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Benn, Radulov, Seguin to make preseason debut for Stars

Dallas' leading scorers from last season headline a loaded lineup making the trip to Tulsa, Okla. to face Florida

by Mike Heika @MikeHeika / Senior Staff Writer
Dallas Stars vs. Florida Panthers

Tonight, 7 p.m. CT

Where: BOK Center (Tulsa, Okla.)

TV/radio: None

Audio stream: FloridaPanthers.com

 

The skinny

The Stars return to Tulsa for a neutral-site preseason game against Florida and bring in a loaded lineup.

Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin and Alexander Radulov will each play their first preseason game, the top three defensemen will be manning the blueline, and Ben Bishop will start the game in net.

Stars coach Jim Montgomery has been playing his young players early in the preseason, knowing they would be leaving at some point, and knowing that the veterans would like to use the final two home games to get up to speed. That said, he is eager to see what the veterans can do tonight.

"I think we did this with a purpose," Montgomery said. "I think we had a great week of practice and I'm excited to see these guys get after it in the game tonight."

Benn will play with Seguin and Joe Pavelski, while Radulov will play with Roope Hintz and Denis Gurianov. With the possible addition of Pavelski, Gurianov and Corey Perry to the top six, lines could be juggled quite a bit, so developing chemistry is also part of the preseason.

"We've got such a great group and guys can play all over the place, so guys will have to get used to be playing with everybody," Benn said. "It'll be good to get out there tonight and try to find some chemistry."

Which is really part of the whole plan.

"They're trying to find their rhythm and their timing," Montgomery said of the top players. "If they can get in and play at the right pace, now they're tracking for Oct. 3."

 

What to watch

Obviously, the top three will be talked about a lot. And we'll also get to see the power play with Benn, Seguin, Radulov, Pavelski and John Klingberg, so that will be nice.

But maybe the most interesting watch will be 18-year-old defenseman Thomas Harley being paired with 20-year-old defenseman Miro Heiskanen. The two first-round draft picks represent a big part of the future of the defense, and Harley is proving in his first camp that he is up to the task.

"He just continues to impress with his ability to make plays," Montgomery said. "There's certain things without the puck because he's not used to the way we play that he's made mistakes, but you just love his brain level with the puck."

Harley will likely be returned to his junior team in Mississauga, but a lot of previous 18-year-olds would already have gone back, so the Stars are enjoying the evaluation process right now.

"This has been a pleasant surprise," Montgomery said. "The fact that he's still here shows how much he's impressed the coaching staff and management."

 

By the numbers
42.6 percent

That's the amount of total goals scored by the top three of Benn, Seguin and Radulov last season. The trio combined for 89 of the team's 209 goals. The top three also had 29.0 percent of the shots on goal.

 

334

That's the number of shots on goal last season from Seguin, fourth most in the NHL. Since joining the Stars in 2013, Seguin has fired 1,822 shots on net, second only to Alex Ovechkin in that span.

 

37.3

That's the amount of shots on goal against the Stars have averaged in three preseason games. They have taken an average of 21.3 SOG per game. Expect them to address that problem tonight.

 

He said it

"He's crafty, he's smart. I kind of `iso-cammed' him in a few practices. He's not Roope Hintz speed, but the way he controls the pace of play. It's weird to compare him to this guy, but because I've played with (Jaromir) Jagr before, he has that delay like Jagr does. It's just that vision. You can see his hockey IQ every shift."

-- Seguin on Stars' free-agent signing Pavelski

 

Projected Stars lineup

Jamie Benn - Tyler Seguin - Joe Pavelski

Denis Gurianov - Roope Hintz - Alexander Radulov

Andrew Cogliano - Rhett Gardner - Blake Comeau

Jason Robertson - Tanner Kero - Nick Caamano

Esa Lindell - John Klingberg

Thomas Harley - Miro Heiskanen

Gavin Bayreuther - Dillon Heatherington

Ben Bishop (first two periods)

Jake Oettinger (third period)

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club.

Mike Heika is a Senior Staff Writer for DallasStars.com and has covered the Stars since 1994. Follow him on Twitter @MikeHeika.

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