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All eyes on young forwards as Stars face Blues

Montgomery wants to see 'a lot of urgency' from Gurianov, Kiviranta and others as they battle for a roster spot

by Mike Heika @MikeHeika / Senior Staff Writer
Dallas Stars at St. Louis Blues

Tonight, 7 p.m.

Where: Enterprise Center, St. Louis

TV/radio: None

Audio stream: Blues Radio Network

 

The skinny

Video: Stars' young forwards look to make an impact at Blues

Call this a sort of stopgap toward the weekend for the Stars.

Dallas will play host to Minnesota Thursday and to Colorado Saturday and are expected to play top lineups in those games. Ben Bishop will get one full game in goal and Anton Khudobin will play the other, and both are expected to have a feel of dress rehearsal.

But before we get there, the Stars will travel to St. Louis Tuesday for the last of four consecutive road preseason games. Yes, Jamie Benn, John Klingberg and Alexander Radulov will be in the lineup, but the focus will likely be on younger players who are pushing to make the opening night roster.

Denis Gurianov, Ty Dellandrea, Joel Kiviranta, Nick Caamano and Jason Robertson are among the younger forwards who have a chance to impress the coaches and throw their hat into the ring. Justin Dowling was wearing a red no-contact jersey in practice Tuesday, and Corey Perry is expected to visit the doctor Thursday to see how his fractured foot is progressing. If either can't play Oct. 3, there will be a forward spot open.

Even if both can play, the guess is the Stars will keep at least one extra forward and possibly two as they head into a three-game road trip after the home opener.

Bottom line, someone is making this team.

The problem is nobody has really stepped forward yet.

Asked how much urgency these players need to show, head coach Jim Montgomery said: "A lot ... a lot of urgency."

"They need to start proving they want to play for the Dallas Stars this year," he added.

 

What to watch

Video: Hintz ready to make another strong impact for Stars

There still is a lot of to talk about concerning how the top six will play out, so it will be interesting to see Roope Hintz centering Jamie Benn and Alexander Radulov. Hintz probably did his best work at center last season, so getting a chance to play the role of No. 1 center in this game will be an opportunity to shine.

Tyler Seguin will be the team's No. 1 center in the regular season, but there still is much discussion on whether Hintz or Joe Pavelski should center the second line, and which of the top-six forwards should play with one another.

Landon Bow and Jake Oettinger each is expected to get their final chance to show the big club what they can do before they head down to Cedar Park and start work in the AHL.

Oettinger had a rough game against Florida in Tulsa on Saturday, so he'll want to bounce back from that. Bow will get the first two periods and will try to build on a strong preseason in which he has a 1.00 goals against average and .971 save percentage in 60 minutes of play.

 

By the numbers

Video: Cogliano says Stars have room to grow

 

10th

That's where Jamie Benn ranks in the NHL in scoring since the Stars added Tyler Seguin in 2013. Benn has 456 points (199 goals, 257 assists) in 482 games. Seguin ranks sixth with 464 points in 469 games during that span.

 

51.9

That's the Stars' faceoff winning percentage last season, ranking fourth in the NHL. The Blues ranked sixth at 51.4 percent. Tyler Seguin led the Stars with 676 faceoff wins and had a winning percentage of 54.1 percent.

 

Plus-70

That's the SAT total for John Klingberg in the playoffs last season. SAT measures shot differential at even strength, and Klingberg's totals were off the charts good. Jamie Benn was second on the Stars at plus-7. Since joining the NHL in 2014, Klingberg ranks 15th among defensemen in SAT at plus-718.

 

He said it

Video: Thomas Harley signs entry-level deal with Stars

"It was kind of just a relief to get it over with, so I can just get back to playing hockey."

-- Stars defenseman Thomas Harley on signing his three-year rookie contract Monday.

 

Projected Stars lineup

Jamie Benn - Roope Hintz - Alexander Radulov

Mattias Janmark - Jason Dickinson - Denis Gurianov

Nick Caamano - Rhett Gardner - Jason Robertson

Blake Comeau - Ty Dellandrea - Joel Kiviranta

Thomas Harley - John Klingberg

Esa Lindell - Roman Polak

Jamie Oleksiak - Andrej Sekera

Landon Bow

Jake Oettinger

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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