Dallas Stars making big changes in the roster during the off season

by Melissa Grissom

Last year the Dallas Stars were close to making the playoffs and during the off season, General Manager Joe Nieuwendyk made changes in the team.  The biggest change is losing number one center Brad Richards to the New York Rangers as he signed a nine-year contract worth $60 million but they were very active in the free agency world by signing Michael Ryder, Radek Dvorak, Vernon Fiddler, Jake Dowell, and Eric Goddard in the forward position, while toughing up their defense with the signing of Adam Pardy and Sheldon Souray.  This team will be different but I see a big season from them.

So here is a brand new look for your 2011-2012 Dallas Stars Roster.

13 Barch, Krys RW/LW 6-2 210  Hamilton, Ontario

14 Benn, Jamie LW/C 6-2 205 Victoria, British Columbia

16 Burish, Adam RW 6-0 189  Madison, Wisconsin

6 Daley, Trevor D  5-11 207 Toronto, Ontario

11 Dowell, Jake C 6-0 202 Eau Claire, Wisconsin

20 Dvorak, Radek RW 6-2 200  Tabor, Czechoslovakia

21 Eriksson, Loui RW 6-1 190 Goteborg, Sweden

38 Fiddler, Vernon LW/C 5-11 201  Edmonton, Alberta

28 Fistric, Mark D 6-3 234 Edmonton, Alberta

18 Godard, Eric RW 6-4 211  Vernon, British Columbia

33 Goligoski, Alex D 5-11 180 Grand Rapids, Minnesota

2 Grossman, Nicklas D 6-3 214 Stockholm, Sweden

32 Lehtonen, Kari G 6-4 215 Helsinki, Finland

10 Morrow, Brenden LW 5-11 207 Carlyle, Saskatchewan

29 Ott, Steve C/LW 6-0 195  Summerside, Prince Edward Island

27 Pardy, Adam D 6-2 206 Bonavista, Newfoundland

17 Petersen, Toby C/LW 5-10 200 Minneapolis, Minnesota

30 Raycroft, Andrew G 6-0 185 Belleville, Ontario

63 Ribeiro, Mike C 6-0 180 Montreal, Quebec

3 Robidas, Stephane D 5-11 195 Sherbrooke, Quebec

73 Ryder, Michael RW 6-0 192 St. John’s, Newfoundland

44 Souray, Sheldon D 6-4 233 Elk Point, Alberta

23 Wandell, Tom C 6-1 183 Sodertalje, Sweden

Losing Richards is a big deal, but I do see five players stepping up during the new season to counteract the loss of Richards in the lineup.  Let’s look aboard, now shall we:

1. Jamie Benn, the young and upcoming forward for the Dallas Stars, who was 4th in goals (34), 4th in assists (34) and tied for 5th in points along with Brenden Morrow (56).  He has shown the league that he can step up, be the big player he can be, and help the Stars in the standings.  He has emerged into a big-impact player who scores those big goals.  Last year, Benn had some amazing highlighted goals and proved to be a big part of the team when he missed 10 games with a shoulder injury.  During that time, Dallas struggled on offense.

2. Loui Eriksson who was in his first ever All-Star game last year, was 3rd in goals (27), 3rd in assist (46) and 2nd in points (73).  He will have to prove to the league that he can produce the points without getting the passes from the departed Richards. Eriksson was also a finalist for the Lady Byng Trophy.  He will be a big part of the Stars next year while adjusting to new linemates.

3. Brenden Morrow, the heart and soul in Dallas, has been with the franchise since 1999.  He was 1st in goals (33), 6th in assists (23) and tied for 5th in points along with Benn (56).  He is the type of guy who brings heart and passion to the Stars that need it and the dedication to win a Stanley Cup.  He plays with his heart on his sleeve, and will be relied upon to score even more goals.

4. Stephane Robidas is Dallas’ number one defenseman.  He scored 5 goals and added 25 assists for 30 points in 81 games.  He is the backbone and veteran presence of the defense, and has proven to help the Stars on the penalty kill and power play.  He has also proven to be a warrior by coming back from injuries that would have kept him out of games and get up after debilitating hits from opponents.

5. Kari Lehtonen is the number one goalie in Dallas.  He had 34 wins in a total of 69 games.  He will be a big reason if the Stars are able to make the playoffs.  He will be relied heavily upon to make the key saves and help the Stars to victory, and be a big leader.  The two biggest questions for Lehtonen this year will be; 1)  Can he prove to the rest of the league that he can win the big games?  2)  Will he be step up and be one of the key players next year for the Stars?  It is his time to answer both of those in the affirmative. 

The Dallas Stars are going into the 2011-2012 season with a new-look roster and one goal: to make the playoffs and win Lord’s Stanley Cup.