If you’ve been paying attention to Gone Puck Wild lately, and shame on you if you haven’t, then you know school has begun as Wild fans brush up on their knowledge of the new teams within Minnesota’s division. This week, that new team just so happens to be ”the old team”–that’s right–the Dallas Stars. Going through Sunday, we’ll break down Dallas’ major additions and subtractions, strengths and weaknesses, prospect pool, 2013 draft class and team outlook.
Yesterday, we took a look at the latest additions to Dallas’ lineup. Today, we take a look at the void those acquisitions now fill after the departure of some of last seasons’ players.
Without question, the biggest missing piece from last year’s roster would have to be Loui Eriksson. A veteran of four straight 20+ goal seasons prior to the lockout, Eriksson is a big 6’2″ 196-pound winger that knows how to pile up the points. A high second round pick in the fabled draft of 2003, Loui has scored 150 goals and 207 assists for 357 points and a plus-31 rating in 501 career NHL games. There’s no question last year’s lockout shortened season proved tough for both Loui and Dallas, as he struggled to put up 12 goals and 17 assists for 29 points and a negative-9 rating in 48 games. The change of scenery should prove to be a good situation for both Eriksson and his new team in Bean Town–the Boston Bruins.
Perhaps the next biggest departure–aside from Jaromir Jagr, who was traded prior to the end of the season–would be 2002 10th overall pick and former Minnesota Wild fourth liner Eric Nystrom. After being traded for future considerations (what were those again? I’m assuming Joe Nieuwendyk covered Chuck Fletcher’s bar tab one night?) prior to the start of the 2011-12 season, Nystrom would notch his best season ever, scoring 16 goals and adding five assists for 21 points and a negative-10 rating in 74 games. Now skating for the Nashville Predators, Nystrom has yet to leave the division, but he’s still unlikely to be a major threat any time soon.
Philip Larsen was the only departure on “D”, aside from 2011 first rounder Joe Morrow, who was shipped to Boston in the Seguin trade. Larsen was the biggest piece sent up north to Edmonton in the trade that brought former Oilers captain Shawn Horcoff into the Stars’ fold. He isn’t a big defender at 6’0″ 190-pounds, but he does possess an intriguing skill set and mind for the game.
According to Elite Prospects:
Larsen has average size, but other than that, he shows a rather all-around arsenal of skills. He is blessed with good speed, technical skills and very good hockey sense, which is his greatest quality. Really a smart player, that sees openings that many other players are unable to. He plays mature and appears to be relaxed and confident on the ice. Perhaps more noticeable offensively than defensively, but rather solid in his own end, despite having to work with the physical aspect of the game.
This is interesting in the fact that a kid who will likely develop into a solid top-4 NHL defender is no longer in the fold. But Sergei Gonchar’s arrival will help ease the transition of the beast named Jamie Oleksiak.
There were other departures. Tom Wandell signed in the KHL and Reilly Smith, the younger brother of Detroit’s Brendan Smith, was another piece of the package shipped to Boston.