Less than an hour after the Stars announced the signing of forward Lauri Korpikoski to a one-year, $1 million contract, the veteran forward hit the ice for his first practice with the team in Frisco Monday morning.
"It's been kind of a whirlwind, flying in yesterday from Calgary. It's been kind of exciting," Korpikoski said. "It was good to join the team right away and get the first practice. It seems like a good group of guys, and I am excited to play the first game."
Korpikoski signed with the Stars not long after being released from a professional tryout with the Calgary Flames on Sunday. He'll bring some veteran depth to the Stars, who are banged up at forward. Mattias Janmark is out five to six months following knee surgery. Cody Eakin will be out until early November with a knee injury. Ales Hemsky's status for the start of the season is in doubt due to a groin injury.
"[Korpikoski] is a good, veteran forward that brings a good, two-way game," said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. "With the amount of injuries we've had and our depth being depleted, he is a welcome addition."
Video: Korpikoski on joining the Stars
Korpikoski, 30, played with Edmonton last season, registering 22 points (10 goals, 12 assists) in 71 games. He's played a total of 540 NHL games with the New York Rangers, Arizona, and Edmonton and has recorded 181 points (78 goals, 103 assists). The 6-1, 193-pound native of Finland is a left-shot, and he believes he can fit in with the way Dallas plays.
"I like to play with speed, push the pace, forecheck, play with energy and work hard," Korpikoski said. "Whenever they put me in the lineup, I think I will be just fine."
Korpikoski brings some versatility to the lineup and can kill penalties, which is a bonus with the Stars missing some players in that role due to injuries.
"He fits the type of guys I utilize in a lot of different positions. He can play left or right wing," Ruff said. "He's a penalty killer. Losing a couple of guys that were mainstays on our penalty kill in Janmark and Eakin, I think he can help us in that department. I've seen where he can create a little bit of offense too, so we are looking at a little bit of both."
Korpikoski, who will wear No. 38 with the Stars, skated on the fourth line in Monday's practice, rotating with Curtis McKenzie on left wing while Devin Shore centered the line and Adam Cracknell played right wing.
Notes: Seguin appears ready to go, Hemsky still out
*Stars center Tyler Seguin (heel) went through a full practice on Monday and skated well. Right wing Ales Hemsky (groin) was not on the ice Monday.
"It looks like Tyler will be back for us [opening night]," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. "I don't believe Hemsky will be able to play."
Seguin was injured at the World Cup of Hockey and did not play in any preseason games. There is still no timetable on Hemsky, who was injured at the World Cup as well.
"He's had treatment. I would look to see him get on the ice [Tuesday], not for practice but back on the ice and we'll just wait and see," Ruff said.
*Stars defensemen John Klingberg and Stephen Johns appear to be dealing with some injury issues, but Ruff said he expects both to be fine.
"Klingberg and Johns both skated yesterday and practiced today, which was good," Ruff said. "I'll get a report later today, but I thought they practiced well and it looks to me like they are both ready."
*Defenseman Esa Lindell did not practice Monday due to an injury issue but Ruff said Lindell should be fine by Thursday's season opener.
"Lindell is nursing a little bit of an injury, but I expect him to practice tomorrow so he'll probably be available," Ruff said. "So, we are getting a little healthier."
*The Stars placed D Mattias Backman on waivers. If he clears, he'll be assigned to the Texas Stars of the AHL.
*With Backman on waivers, the Stars appear close to having their roster set for opening night. The Stars roster is currently 28 players. Backman to Texas would make 27 and injury designations for Hemsky, Cody Eakin (knee), Mattias Janmark (knee) and Jason Dickinson (hip) would bring the Stars down to the 23 maximum.
"I think we are almost right at the final roster now, so there is really no whittling to do," Ruff said. "It just depends on Hemsky and where he is at."
Opening day rosters need to be set by Tuesday at 4 p.m. Central Time.
Monday practice lineup
Jamie Benn - Tyler Seguin - Patrick Eaves
Patrick Sharp - Jason Spezza - Jiri Hudler
Antoine Roussel - Radek Faksa - Brett Ritchie
Curtis McKenzie/Lauri Korpikoski - Devin Shore - Adam Cracknell
Various defense pairs with Dan Hamhuis, John Klingberg, Johnny Oduya, Stephen Johns, Patrik Nemeth, Jordie Benn, Jamie Oleksiak
Not skating: Lindell (undisclosed), Hemsky (groin)
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.