2011 Season Preview: Wingers

If there’s any area on the Stars team that looks solid, it’s going to be the wingers. It’s easily the most group on the team, even if Jamie Benn spends much of his time playing center this season. 

At the top of the list, aside from Benn, is our all-star Loui Eriksson. One of the most underrated players in the league, outside of Dallas at least, Loui finally got some recognition last year by making his first all-star team. Since joining the top level squad in 2006, Loui has steadily gotten better and provided more production. He’s shown that he’s capable of getting near the 40 goals mark (he had 36 during the 2006-2007 season) as well the 50 assists (he had 46 last year).

With Richards gone, Eriksson loses his linemate from the past three seasons so he’ll need to start developing a rapport with new, or maybe old, number one center Mike Ribeiro. He now becomes leading scorer and focal point of the offense now that Richards is gone. With increased power play and ice time this season, Loui should finally break the 80 point barrier and make another all-star team. 

This season will be Brenden Morrow’s 12th season with the Stars and our captain is playing as well as he ever has. He had a career high of 33 goals last year and was somehow one of the few guys to play all 82 games last year. He’s only done that three times in his career, though he’s played 81 games twice, so i expect he him to miss a game here and there with a few dings this year.

He’s spent the past few seasons playing wing next to Ribeiro, but I would expect Morrow to be playing with a new center this season, possilby Benn.

Steve Ott will do what Steve Ott does: Fight, annoy, score a few goals and then annoy the other team some more. Expect the usual from Otter.

The Stars big signing of the offseason, Michael Ryder, will be expected to bring big scoring to the team. After starting his career in Montreal regularly putting 30 goals past the net, Ryder struggled to reach those marks playing for an extremely deep Boston Bruins team, though I doubt he’ll complain after winning it all last year. He was getting only 14 minutes per game last year, but his move over to Dallas suddenly puts him on the top line with Loui Eriksson and reuniting him with former Montreal Canadien teammate Mike Ribeiro.

He’ll be getting big minutes so a return to his 30 goal scoring years could, and should, see a return as he’ll also be a huge part of the power play.

Another, quieter, signing was the addition of Radek Dvorak, someone who has averaged between 10-15 goals a year during his 15 year career. He’ll be mostly a depth line guy, but if there is an injury to one of the higher wingers, he will be the guy that gets moved up.

Adam Burish might find himself as a second line winger a bit this year so it’s important that he stays healthy. He missed some games last year after he suffered a fractured orbital bone after a fight during a game against the Boston Bruins. Dallas added a tough guy in Eric Goddard this year and with Krys Barch still on the team, Burish will need to keep his nose a bit cleaner than usual.

One guy to keep an eye on is Scott Glennie. The Stars picked him at number eight in the first round of the 2009 draft and Glennie tore up the competition in the WHL, amassing 90 points in 70 games last year. He’ll be starting the season in the AHL with the Texas Stars but he could definitely be called up Dallas suffers a rash of injuries again. He has the ability to be a prolific goal scorer and his development will be a key for the future of the Stars.

Overall, the wingers are filled with guys that can really put the puck in the net. There was a stretch last year where the Stars really struggled to score goals as they were dealing with injuries. With the added depth, they should find it a bit easier this year, even without Richards. This group of players should be fine.