The Edmonton Oilers claimed forward left wing Luke Gazdic off waivers from the Stars. The moves brought the Stars’ roster down to the 25 players. With defenseman Aaron Rome and center Scott Glennie probably headed to injured reserve, the Stars appear to be set with their 23-man opening night roster, which has to be set by Monday afternoon.
“We’re happy with the group,” said Stars GM Jim Nill. “We’ll start the season this way and go from there.”
How the Stars could line up for Thursday’s opener against Florida at American Airlines Center could be taking shape as well. Tyler Seguin centered Jamie Benn and Erik Cole in Sunday’s practice. The second line consisted of Ray Whitney at left wing, Cody Eakin at center and Alex Chiasson at right wing. Vernon Fiddler centered the third line with Shawn Horcoff and Valeri Nichushkin on the wings. The fourth line had Chris Mueller centering Antoine Roussel and Ryan Garbutt. Lane MacDermid also took shifts on that line.
Rich Peverley, who is coming off a procedure to correct an irregular heartbeat, continues to practice with the team wearing a red “no contact” jersey. Peverley may not be ready for the opener, but he could be ready to play the second game of the season against Washington.
The defense pairs were Alex Goligoski-Sergei Gonchar; Brenden Dillon-Stephane Robidas; Kevin Connauton-Jordie Benn. Trevor Daley, who has been out with an upper body injury, practiced today as the seventh defenseman, but could be ready for the opener.
Kari Lehtonen and Dan Ellis, of course, manned the nets.
Stars hopeful Daley can play
Stars defenseman Trevor Daley practiced with the Stars Sunday morning. The Stars are hopeful that Daley, who suffered an upper body injury in the Sept. 20 preseason game against Florida, will be ready for Thursday night’s opener against the Panthers.
“We’re hoping he is going to be ready,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “Today we didn’t put him in any battle situations, but he practiced. He got bumped around a little bit. I thought he had a good day.”
Daley said there is ample time for him to get ready for Thursday’s game.
“I felt good out there. I think I am going the right way,” Daley said. “I haven’t talked to Lindy yet, but what have we got, three more days? Four more days? That’s a long time.”
Stars lose Gazdic via waivers
The Dallas Stars lost left wing Luke via waivers on Sunday. The Edmonton Oilers claimed Gazdic, a gritty forward who can bring toughness to the lineup. It’s a tough break for the Stars, but a great opportunity for Gazdic who will now start the season in the NHL with the Oilers.
“You don’t like to lose a guy like Luke. He’s a good depth guy,” said Stars GM Jim Nill. “It’s how the system is supposed to work. It’s a great opportunity for him. He’s a great young man.”
Mueller, Connauton claim roster spots
It appears Chris Mueller will start the season on the Dallas Stars roster. Mueller, a free agent signing this summer, could be in the lineup when the Stars open the season against Florida on Thursday.
“He’s a good, solid all-around player,” said Stars GM Jim Nill. “He can play any position. He can play wing, he can play center. He came from the Nashville system, so he knows how to play good defensive hockey. He’s a very responsible player. He’s solid.”
Once Rich Peverley is cleared to play, Mueller could be headed to the AHL, but it’s still a great opportunity for Mueller, who has been solid during the preseason.
“It’s exciting,” said Mueller. “It seems like every year I am the last guy to go in the office and get cut or get put on waivers, and they’d say the first call-up. It’s nice to be with the team this long. I’m just working hard and trying to make the team.”
Connauton, acquired last season from Vancouver in the Derek Roy deal and then re-signed to a three-year contract, was considered to be a strong candidate for a spot on the roster.
“I feel good about it, but I have to keep the mentality that every day is a tryout and that I can’t get too comfortable,” Connauton said. “I’ve got to make sure that I am always elevating my game and making sure I am doing everything I can to stay.”
Connauton leans towards the offensive side of things. He’s an excellent skater and has a big shot.
“I think the big thing on him has been to join and create something on the offensive side,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “The main thing you have to do is make sure you defend. I think early in camp he struggled a little bit. We had him on the right in one game and then we switched him back to the left and he felt a lot more comfortable. It’s finding your way with the system and how we want to play. I think he grabbed ahold of it and played pretty well.
Stars practice lineup
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.