When the Dallas Stars acquired Derek Roy, Jaromir Jagr and Ray Whitney in the offseason, it was expected to boost an offense that at times last season had trouble scoring goals. Now just nine games into the season, those hopes have been dashed as the team sits 29th in goal scoring and Whitney and Roy are on injured reserve. Whitney’s six points still leads the team.
Roy was a bit of a risk anyway coming off of surgery on his shoulder in the offseason. Whitney will now miss up to two months with a broken bone in his foot, and the Stars will now turn to some of their young prospects from the AHL’s Texas Stars to fill the void left by their injured NHL stars.
Reilly Smith was called up to fill Whitney’s roster spot for the time being. In three games with Dallas last season and seven games this season, he has yet to register a point. Through 38 games with Texas, he had 11 goals and 27 points. He was the Stars’ third round pick in the 2009 draft and played collegiate hockey at Miami University (Ohio). Smith his shown he can score at the NCAA level as well as in the AHL, and will now get a chance to have success in the NHL.
Antoine Roussel also got his first taste of NHL action due to injuries, and scored a goal in his debut on Friday against the Phoenix Coyotes. The French-born winger plays a physical game, and had eight goals, 19 points and 103 penalty minutes in the AHL this season.
In addition to leaning on their young players, the Stars will look to get more out of Jagr, Jamie Benn, Michael Ryder and Loui Eriksson while Whitney is out. No one expects a team near the bottom of the league in goals per game to contend for the postseason, and if that’s where the Stars want to be in a few months they need to start scoring.