For those waiting for the preseason debut of Miro Heiskanen and Tyler Seguin, wait no longer. Both players are set to hit the ice against the Minnesota Wild at the American Airlines Center Thursday.
It is a fairly heavy NHL-caliber lineup for Dallas, including nine NHL regulars from a season ago and a host of youngsters with a real shot at making the 2022-23 roster.
Among those youngsters is 22-year-old Matej Blumel, who has likely been the most impressive player over the past month and is dressing for the third straight preseason game. After leading the team in goals in Traverse City and adding two more in the team scrimmage, the Czechia winger has made a legitimate case for himself as opening night inches closer.
“He has come as advertised,” Head Coach Pete DeBoer said. “They were excited about signing him and getting him over the summer. He has done it right, he made a great first impression at rookie camp [Traverse City], he handled that the right way and was one of the best players there, if not the best player. He has come to camp and has looked consistently dangerous here. He is one of those guys we want to take a good hard long look at. I think he is definitely in that conversation.”
For the other younger players, DeBoer is looking to give each their own opportunity. To do that, he has continued to mix up lines and place younger players with NHLers and veterans that they can both compete with and learn from. Tonight, Mavrik Bourque will get a better look playing on a line with Jamie Benn and Joe Pavelski.
“We put Bourque tonight with Benn and Pav, we want to give him a chance,” DeBoer said. “I thought he got his feet wet in the first game, we want to give him some good veteran players to play with tonight, see what he can do. That’s an example of some of the things we are trying to do.”
Anton Khudobin will start and is expected to play the full game with Adam Scheel backing up. Khudobin also started on Monday against the St. Louis Blues, stopping 11 of 13 shots in his first action since hip surgery.
Stars Projected Lines
Wild Projected Lineup
Tyson Jost, Sam Steel, Nic Petan, F Marco Rossi, Mats Zuccarello, Adam Beckman, Sam Hentges, Joseph Cramarossa, Mason Shaw, Mitchell Chaffee, Damien Giroux, Brandon Baddock
Jonas Brodin, Ryan O'Rourke, Jared Spurgeon, Calen Addison, Andrej Sustr, Jake Middleton
Jesper Wallstedt, Zane McIntyre
He Said It
“Don’t let the systems and things paralyze you and not allow you to show us your game,” DeBoer said about his message to the young players trying to make the roster. “That's the fine line young guys have to walk. They have to incorporate some of the things we are trying to do from a team standpoint, but do it without affecting what they do best and showing their real game. If you are going to make mistakes, make them being aggressive and playing your game so you show us what you can do.”