Stars GM Jim Nill and coach Lindy Ruff spent a lot of time in some meetings after Friday’s practice in Frisco. When asked about the lengthy session, Ruff said, “We were grinding.”
What they were doing was grinding down the roster a little more, moving closer to sorting out that final open spot at the forward position. A couple hours after the meeting, the team announced that forwards Remi Elie, Radek Faksa and Jason Dickinson were headed to the Texas Stars of the AHL.
With the moves, the Stars now have 14 forwards on the roster, appearing to leave Curtis McKenzie and Mattias Janmark battling for the final spot. But Nill suggested that is not the case.
“It’s down to more than that,” Nill said. “It’s good competition. Janmark has come in and has been the unknown guy. He’s caught everybody’s attention, which is good. McKenzie the last couple games has played better. They are in competition with these other guys on the bottom half of the roster.”
The Stars have one more preseason game, Saturday in Chicago. Ruff indicated a decision on the final roster would come at some point after that game.
As for the players sent down to the AHL, they were informed following Friday’s practice. Each player was called into meet with Stars management individually.
“They’ve all come in, done a great job and been noticed,” Nill said. “They had good camps, they played the way they should play. Young guys always get an exhibition game as part of the experience, but [Elie and Faksa] got five, Dickinson got hurt so he couldn’t. They got those other four games because the coaches want them in the lineup. The coaches like them, they are doing the right things. That’s the message we sent them.
“The other message is you’re young; you’ve got to play big minutes and keep improving. To put you on the team to be the extra forward just doesn’t make sense. Go down and play and if you keep playing at the level you’re playing now, if you’re one of the best players down there, and you’re playing better than someone up here, now we’ll do something.”
Campbell out with hand injury
Goaltender Jack Campbell is still with the team, but he did not practice Friday due to a hand injury. Nill said Campbell, who is expected to be the No. 1 goaltender with the Texas Stars of the AHL, could be out for a while.
“We are going to monitor that. He could be out for a couple weeks here,” Nill said.
*The Stars practiced for about an hour in Frisco on Friday. Ruff called it a lighter day.
“We’ve played every other day and had some guys play a lot of hockey, so some special teams again today and a little bit of our D zone structure which I think has been real good,” Ruff said. “We just spent some time working on a little bit of finesse stuff.”
*The Stars will hold a morning skate in Frisco at 10:30 a.m. Saturday and then will head to Chicago to play their final preseason game.
*Antti Niemi is expected to start in goal for Saturday’s game in Chicago.
Friday’s practice lineup
Jamie Benn – Tyler Seguin – Patrick Sharp
Valeri Nichushkin – Jason Spezza – Ales Hemsky
Antoine Roussel – Cody Eakin/Radek Faksa – Patrick Eaves
Curtis McKenzie – Vernon Fiddler – Travis Moen
Jason Dickinson – Mattias Janmark – Colton Sceviour/Remi Elie
Alex Goligoski – John Klingberg
Johnny Oduya – Jason Demers
Jyrki Jokipakka – Jordie Benn
Patrik Nemeth – Jamie Oleksiak
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.