The Dallas Stars will be without one of their top scorers for the rest of the regular season. Tyler Seguin was cut on the back of the leg late in the Stars 4-3 win over the visiting Tampa Bay Lightning. Seguin was seen limping off the ice and to the locker room following the victory. The team announced the injury this afternoon.
Seguin became tangled up along the boards with Lightning defenseman Anton Stralman with just under 30 seconds left in the game. According the general manager Jim Nill, the cut was a 15% laceration of the Achilles tendon. Seguin received treatment today and was stitched up. He should be ready when the Stars begin the postseason.
How do the Stars Respond?
The Stars shouldn’t have to call anyone up from the AHL as they have some good depth already in place. Mattias Janmark is coming back from injury and both Travis Moen and Brett Ritchie are available.
“This is an opportunity for everybody,” Nill said. It’s no different in our back end with the defense. All year we had no injuries and we kept talking about our depth. Now we see where the depth’s at and it’s paying off for us. Same thing with the forward position, we got lots of depth, lots of good players. It’s an opportunity for somebody else now.”
Granted, none of those players mentioned can do what Seguin does, but both Ritchie and Janmark can make a difference during Seguin’s absence. Janmark has been with he club since the start of the season and has turned heads with his gritty play and skills as a scorer and with puck distribution. The Swede has 27 points (13 goals, 14 assists) this season, is a reliable plus-10, has played up on the top two lines and been responsible enough for a checking line as well. When he returns from injury, he’ll be expected to take on a bigger load in both zones and on special teams.
Ritchie has been up and down this season between the NHL and AHL levels but he might stick for a while with the loss of Seguin. Ritchie is a big body, can dish out punishment, but also has a smooth scoring touch. Dallas will also need his size on the man advantage to wreak havoc in front of the net.
Moen is a solid role player can be a stop-gap until Seguin returns, but as Nill mentioned, this is a time for other to step up their game to minimize the loss.
Dallas will certainly rely on other veterans like Jason Spezza and Patrick Sharp to help fill the void left by the injury. Spezza has been on fire lately, scoring five goals in five games and playing a strong game. Sharp, just back from an injury of his own, has the moxie and experience to help this team. The former Blackhawk is known as a streaky scorer so the Stars are hoping he begins one of those long scoring streaks to close out the season.
Rust or Fire?
Dallas will certainly miss Seguin’s presence on the ice. He has 33 goals and 73 points in 72 games this season which can’t really be replaced, especially on the power play. Dallas isn’t hurt on the penalty kill as Seguin rarely plays there. Of course, the big looming question is what will the All-Star be like when he returns come playoff time?
“I’ve been around a couple of these injuries. I’ve had the ones where it’s been 100 percent and it’s taken six months to get a player back and those are tough injuries to come back from,” head coach Lindy Ruff said. “Like I said, I think we’re fortunate that it is diagnosed what it is. It shouldn’t be as tough to come back from. It will be a tough time of year to come back, I can tell you that. It’ll be tough to catch up and get in playoff mode, is a tough time of year.”
The bottom line is that the Stars will hurt without Seguin, but it isn’t time to sound the death knell for this team. With the depth this team has they can cover for Seguin’s absence and look to improve prior to the playoffs.