Welcome to the Stars Social Mailbag webpage. Throughout the year, we’ll be hosting several mailbags where we answer the questions that you, the fans, ask. We only have the opportunity to answer so many questions in our video segment, but with a large number of great questions from the audience, we still have plenty more to cover. That is what you will find on this page. This is where we answer some of the best ones that didn’t make the video.
Don’t forget that you can participate in our Social Mailbags by tweeting @DallasStars and @JoshBogorad and using the hashtag #StarsSocialMailbag, or by submitting them to the Stars through Facebook or Instagram. We look forward to answering yours soon.
Now, let’s get to your questions:
Bradley Thomas (Facebook) - Do the Stars plan on putting Spezza and Hemsky on the same line again?
As addressed in the video segment, the top line of Benn-Spezza-Seguin has been so good that Lindy can't split them up right now. For that reason, I do not believe there's any short-term plan to reunite Spezza with Hemsky on the same line. However, as we've learned over and over in the Ruff-era, all lines are subject to change at any given time. If he ever does split up the trio, I do believe the most likely pairing would be to reunite Spezza with Hemsky. It's also worth mentioning that Ruff has said recently that he's going to look to try to get Hemsky some time on the first power play unit again. If he does, that could mean they play together again, but not on the regular lines.
CV West (Facebook) - What is the deal with the goalie situation? Are the Stars committed to Kari long term?
Kari is under contract with the Stars through the 2017-2018 season. The other goaltenders on a NHL contract with the Stars are backup Anders Lindback, who is on a one-year deal and Jussi Rynnas, who is currently in the AHL, and in the first year of a two-year deal. Jack Campbell, also in the AHL, is in the final year of his entry-level contract. Others goaltenders on entry-level contracts are Philippe Desrosiers (QMJHL), Maxime Lagace (AHL), and Henri Kiviaho (ECHL).
illian (@lilly_meow) - Any chance that Jack Campbell will be called up?
I don't think so. Obviously, it's been a tough start for Lindback in his first couple of games with Dallas. But, at least for right now, I still think he remains the Stars backup. He won the job in preseason, and the coaching staff still believes he can still be a good #2 option. That said, whenever it is, Lindback's next start is huge. If he has another tough outing, maybe the team does start to look at other options for the backup role in Dallas. If it does come to that, however, I believe they will turn to Rynnas before Campbell if they stay within the organization. This weekend should be very interesting to see if Lindy goes to Lindback in the back-to-back set of games or rides Kari twice.
Ashley Cool (Facebook) - Why hasn't Roussel fought yet!?
Ask and ye shall receive. This was from last weekend in New Jersey.
Brad Connell (Facebook) - At what point do we sign a bruiser to protect our big name players?
The NHL has changed. Most teams no longer employ one-dimensional players who serve strictly as enforcers. That's not to say that there aren't players whose role on a team also includes policing the other team, but I don't see the Stars signing a player with that in mind specifically. As for the Stars big name players, we haven't seen anyone take liberties with Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn has shown time and time again that he can handle himself. Additionally, if the situation calls for it, the Stars have players like Brenden Dillon, Jamie Oleksiak, Ryan Garbutt, and Antoine Roussel who can fight when needed. In the recent past, we've seen all of those guys step up and battle an opponent in defense of a teammate. If the Stars add more physicality in a valuable player that's fine, but they don't need to go out and seek protection. They can, and do, handle themselves just fine with their current group.
John O'Brien (Facebook) - How is Nichushkin coming along, and when will he be back in the lineup?
He's getting better. He's back to practicing with the team, and probably isn't very far away from a return. There is no official time set for a return, but I think you will see him back in the lineup soon.
Andrew LaGesse (Facebook) - Jokipakka or Oleksiak: Who gets the spot long term?
That's a great question. And I honestly don't know the answer. In a perfect world, they both evolve into valuable NHL defensemen for Dallas. Looking at just this season though, as of right now, it appears Oleksiak is a bit higher in the pecking order. But I really like what Jokipakka brings at both ends of the ice, and the coaches do as well. The loss of Patrik Nemeth for the season will create opportunities for both of them this year. For now, I say Oleksiak has the edge on Jokipakka, but it is not a large gap, and may not stay that way all year. As for long term, whoever performs better in their chances will take the lead, but that could be a multi-year, developing answer. Remember Jokipakka is only 23 and Oleksiak is just 21.
Nick Ward (@nlelandw) - Who has the best hair on the team?
Jordie Benn. But it's on his face.
rryyaanndumont (Instagram) - Do the Stars have the key elements to face any top-tier team?
Yes, the Stars have the key elements to match any team in the league. However, where they've struggled so far this season, is having all of those elements play at the top of their game for a full contest. When Kari is at his best, he can play like one of the top goaltenders in the sport. When the team defense limits their mistakes and turnovers, they can shut down some of the most potent offenses. And when the offense - led by that newly formed #1 line - is firing on all cylinders, there is not a team in the league that can stop them. The problem for the Stars is that the rest of the NHL is extremely talented as well, and most teams can boast a similar resume. So it all comes down to who performs better on a nightly basis. Consistency is what separates the elite teams from the good teams. That is what the Stars need to improve going forward. They have points in 7 of 9 games this season. But they've also only won 4 of them. A more consistent effort nightly would definitely increase that number. The pieces are all there. That's why Dallas is, and should be, a confident group this season. But they need to fine tune their overall game to make complete, 60-minute games the norm. Once they do that, they will become the team they believe they are capable of being.
That does it for this edition of Stars Social Mailbag. Thanks again to everyone for participating. See you next time.