This month’s article will look at the ongoing happenings surrounding the Dallas Stars training camp. The focus will be on the progress of the Dallas youngsters, with my observations being based on local newspaper reports, and on my own observances.
Has really reestablished himself throughout this years camp. Jamie has added seven pounds of muscle, and has increased his determination and focus. Also, his speed has seemed to fit into the Stars new puck possession attack as well. In one recent pre-season game I observed, Jamie was all over the ice. He was robbed twice from the slot, was throwing checks along the boards, fought for loose pucks, and was double shifted for much of the game. All of this is very encouraging, but at this point a roster spot is not at all guaranteed. He still must show a little more offensive touch in order to have a long term future with the club.
After coming over from the Czech Republic, Pavel has really found favor amongst the Stars coaching staff. This is due to the fact that his skating, vision, and passing are assets that the Dallas club has needed for sometime. Further more, the staff has elected to play Patera on the left side of Joe Nieuwendyk, a position that should become a rather nice fit for the rest of the season. If for some reason this pairing doesn’t work then look for Pavel to be the 3rd line center-man.
A borderline prospect that has had trouble of late getting back into the NHL scene, Aaron has finally begun the process of earning a regular spot with the Stars. His size ( 6-1 200lbs ) and speed combo has been intriguing on paper for some time, but finally his play is catching up to his promise. For example, his defensive play has been solid, his checking has been solid, and his ability to create in the offensive zone has improved as well. Although Aaron has yet to lock up a spot, look for him to be at least a part time player with Dallas this season.
The emergence of several quality left-wings has made this pre-season roster lock somewhat less than a shoe-in. While his speed and skill are still at a high level, the fact that the others are showing just as much skill, but with more size, is making Juha’s roster spot somewhat tentative. However, when push comes to shove look for him to make the team, but he better not falter early in the season though.
Was signed as an undrafted free-agent during the off-season, and has subsequently been the surprise of training camp thus far. He has shown excellent speed, surprising grit, and has even shown a touch around the net. Further more, his play has made the choice between himself and Blake Sloan less obvious than once thought. Will probably be sent down to the K-Wings, but I have a funny feeling that his added offensive dimension will eventually push Sloan out of the picture.
PS- A gentleman sent me an email regarding Alan Letang a few weeks ago, and I have subsequently lost this email. Please send your email once more, and I apologize for the mix up.