Kari Lehtonen will make his second start of the preseason when the Dallas Stars take on the Florida Panthers Sunday night at American Airlines Center. Lehtonen and Antti Niemi are expected to alternate starts and play entire games the rest of the preseason, giving both three full games prior to the regular season.
“I think it is important [to get them ready for the regular season],” Ruff said. “It’s unusual to have two guys that are proven No. 1 goaltenders, so that’s where I have made the adjustment. To get them ready they need to play. I know that makes it hard on some of the younger goalies who were hoping to play, but my decision is to have these guys ready when the season comes.”
Lehtonen will have six of the eight defensemen expected to be on Dallas’ NHL roster playing in front of him Sunday. That group will include the pairing of Jason Demers and Johnny Oduya, who will be playing his first preseason game as a Star. Jordie Benn, Jyrki Jokipakka, Patrik Nemeth and Jamie Oleksiak are the other four defensemen playing tonight.
The Stars will also dress several NHL forwards. One question mark among that group is center Jason Spezza, who was listed on the game roster but didn’t skate this morning in Frisco. Devin Shore took Spezza’s spot centering a line with Valeri Nichushkin and Patrick Eaves.
“A guy like Spezza has a number of years in the league, so this morning he just used for maintenance,” Ruff said. “In all likelihood he will play, but that will be my decision come tonight.”
Forward Travis Moen, who missed the first part of camp with a knee issue, will get into his first preseason game tonight.
“He finished the year well for us although he was a little banged up,” Ruff said. “I felt when he played he really brought something to our team. He brought some grit, some size and just some maturity. He’s good along the walls; he popped in a couple big goals for us. I think if he can get in and play the way he finished the year, he could be an important piece for us.”
Notes: Morin clears waivers
*Center Travis Morin, who was placed on waivers Saturday, cleared Sunday morning. He is now eligible to be assigned to the Texas Stars of the AHL.
*Dallas made roster moves Sunday, trimming their training camp roster by 17 players. The Stars roster is now 36 players. Here are the moves:
Loaned to Texas (AHL): G Philippe Desrosiers; F Justin Dowling; G Maxime Lagace; F Emil Molin; F Taylor Peters; F Brendan Ranford; F Gemel Smith; F Matej Stransky; F Branden Troock; F Cole Ully
Released from PTO: D Jesse Blacker; D Brennan Evans; F Derek Hulak; F Cory Kane; D Matt Mangene; G John Muse
Released from ATO: F Brandon Magee
Who: Florida Panthers at Dallas Stars
Where: American Airlines Center
When: 7:00 p.m.
Online: Audio play-by-play on dallasstars.com
Stars projected lineup
Valeri Nichushkin – Jason Spezza – Patrick Eaves
Curtis McKenzie – Vernon Fiddler – Colton Sceviour
Mattias Janmark – Cody Eakin – Remi Elie
Travis Moen – Radek Faksa – Mads Eller
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.