Yesterday we previewed the top-six forwards that will be playing for the Stars this season. Today’s post is about the rest of the forwards that will or might see time with the Stars on the bottom two lines.
Last season we saw guys like Radek Dvorak, Adam Burish and Jake Dowell occupying these spots. They provided some fine defensive work and a lot of these guys played on the penalty kill but expecting offensive production from these fellas was a laughable joke. The only player that really showed that scoring touch was Eric Nystrom, but that was still mostly near the beginning of the season.
This year the Stars should be getting an influx of young talent to fill out the lines to go along with a few of those cagey veterans. The team seems to have finally embraced the future and fans should be getting a good look at some of those kids this year. So without further ado, here’re the rest of the forwards for the Stars.
Morrow is one of the players this season that I’m most interested in watching. He’s been ravaged by injuries here and there the past few seasons and seems to be a shell of his former self. There’s been clamoring from fans to trade the captain while he still has any value. He enter this season a year older (34-years-old when the season starts) so all signs point downward for him.
This year though, I think fans will be okay with what Morrow has to offer on the ice. The extended break should have him as healthy as he’s ever been in the past five years. He’s not going to be 100%, but it’s close enough. He’s just a year removed from a career high 33 goal season so that scoring touch is still there somewhere and he still has someone roadblock value on the power play.
More than anything else though, Morrow finally gets to play in the right spot. He’s been miscast as a top-six forward the past couple of seasons (even if he was scoring goals). Morrow has always been the tough physical grinder type of player and he’ll right at home this year alongside (most likely) Vernon Fiddler and Eric Nystrom.
There’s should be no pressure out there for him to score a bunch of goals so he should more comfortable to just play his game.
The one thing that Morrow has to watch out for though is the penalty situation. Last season, Morrow was continuously getting shepherded into the sin bin. He was second on the team (by a wide margin) with 97 PIM despite just playing in 57 games. That level of disobedience is flat out unacceptable, especially from the captain of the team. Morrow has to be more careful with his play this season as the Stars lost a good chunk of their penalty killing forwards in free agency.
If all this fails and Morrow just doesn’t have it in him, well… at least it’s the last year of his contract.
2013 Prediction: 13 goals, 6 assists, 19 points, -4 rating, 48 PIM
Fiddler was one of the nice surprises on the team last season. He was a reliable player that played a ton of penalty killing minutes and was one the team’s best face-off guys. Granted it was just around a 50% winning percentage but sadly that’s now the best on the team with Steve Ott and Adam Burish gone.
There could be numerous times this season when Fiddler is the guy out there taking the pivotal face-off so hopefully he gets a little more effective in the circle.
Out of the face-off dot, Fiddler will still lead the penalty kill team and he gets some better offensive talent beside him in Morrow. His assists should be a little more than expected. Nothing against Radek Dvorak but uhhh… he doesn’t exactly see the puck hit the back of the net much.
Fiddler should be a consistent player again this season and do his usual Fiddler things.
2013 Prediction: 3 goals, 11 assists, 14 points, -8 rating, 26 PIM