|James Neal (AP)|
The Stars are one of those teams that can put together a strong line of "the guys who got away," starting with the top line here.
Talk about some big-time scorers on the wings who got away. Neal was dealt not long ago to Pittsburgh so people remember that, but do most realize Iginla was part of the Stars organization? He was traded to Calgary before ever playing a game in Dallas. Jokinen, meanwhile, might not be an ideal top-line center, but with these two guys he should do more than fine in the middle. Just three seasons ago he had 65 points.
Eriksson and Benn made up two-thirds of a top line for much of last season in Dallas, but to keep them together we'll put them on the second line, which is a testament to the Stars. We do have three left wingers here, but Benn has played in the middle so that leaves Morrow to be flipped to the right side.
Ott is an ideal candidate to center a third line, so the Stars are in good hands there -- he's good in the faceoff circle, just ask Claude Giroux. Miettinen's production has dipped in recent years but he can still potentially add some scoring from the third line while Crombeen has been a steady, physical force in St. Louis.
Offensive Scratch: Tomas Vincour
He doesn't have much experience under his belt yet, but he's a center which could come in handy considering we only have two true centers in the top nine.
Like the top offensive line we have a pairing of guys who are no longer in Dallas, each going to Pennsylvania (Niskanen to the Penguins, Grossmann to the Flyers). There isn't a ton of offense to speak of here -- what there is will come from Niskanen -- but it's a strong duo defensively speaking.
Like the top pairing, we only have a modest amount of offense from this pairing but some strong defensive guys. They might use one of the forwards on the power play point position instead of a defenseman, but these guys should hold the blue line well.
Defensive Scratch: Philip Larsen
Larsen started to get his first serious action in the NHL last season with the Stars, playing in 55 games with 17:57 of ice time per game. Like the guys above him, offensive production isn't strong but he defends as a defenseman is wont to do.
Hopefully we'll get the Smith that the Coyotes had in real life last season instead of the guy who was in Dallas and Tampa Bay. If so, this is a strong tandem as Bachman has shown promise in his limited NHL appearances. Dan Ellis is the third/AHL option, so there is some depth to speak of which is always nice.