It may only be the preseason, but a 5-1 loss to the Avalanche is still demoralizing for the Dallas Stars. This loss might also cause a shakeup in the near future.
“It’s only the preseason, it’s only the preseason, it’s only the preseason…”
Dallas Stars fans are probably thankful for this statement today. That’s because on Thursday night, the Stars were victimized by the Colorado Avalanche in a 5-1 routing. It was the Stars’ second preseason game and their first on the road.
The Stars went with a primarily young roster while the Avs included plenty of veterans in their lineup. Experience ended up beating exuberance pretty handily.
There’s no need to sugarcoat it: Dallas was beat pretty horribly. The Avalanche scored three goals on their first three shots in the first six minutes of the game. That’s a lot of firsts to be on the wrong side of.
Kari Lehtonen started the game 0-3 in net, the Stars looked weak and spotty on defense, and the offense had little momentum.
Roope Hintz found a power play goal for the Dallas Stars midway through the third period, but that’s about all there was to celebrate. It was an ugly loss and gives the team plenty to think about going forward.
But remember: it’s only the preseason. The Stars used last night to examine the younger portion of their lineup and see what each player can offer to the team. The game was a heavy learning tool, but could also signal an upcoming time of change for the Stars.
In an interview following last night’s game, head coach Ken Hitchcock said, “I think [last night] was revealing, so some people might be a little surprised.” He said it in regards to the next roster cut, which is likely coming soon.
There was a positive and negative to the young lineup that the Stars fronted last night. The positive was that the young players had a chance to prove themselves against NHL-level competition. The negative was that they didn’t prove themselves against NHL-level competition.
As a result, Friday morning’s practice had a bit of a different look to it. The Stars split their remaining 53-man roster into two distinct groups. One group was comprised primarily of the players expected to play in the AHL or lower this season, and the other had the likely Dallas Stars members.
The groups were pretty self-explanatory, according to Sean Shapiro of NHL.com.
The Stars ended today by trimming their roster by one player. Nick Caamano, who had an outstanding training camp and Traverse City Tournament performance, was assigned to the Flint Firebirds of the OHL. Still, Caamano was one of the most impressive players this preseason and should be moving up very soon if he continues to develop.
The roster now stands at 52 players, but this is only the beginning. 29 more players need to be reassigned or cut before the season begins on Oct. 6. There are only four games and a little over a week left in the preseason to make these decisions.
It’s not going to be easy to whittle down, but games like last night’s provide some pretty clear evidence of what is working and what definitely isn’t working.
This loss may be quickly forgotten as the Dallas Stars move on to St. Louis to take on the Blues tomorrow night, but the remnants of the game will live on as the team continues to mold. Over the next few days, expect to see the list trimmed down significantly.
And don’t be surprised if some of the names on Thursday night’s roster are included, because that lineup obviously did not work.
But remember: it’s only the preseason.