Texas Stars Mailbag: Who makes the team? Camp standouts? What about Cole Ully?

Cole Ully at Dallas Stars training camp earlier this week. (Photo by Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)

Cole Ully at Dallas Stars training camp earlier this week. (Photo by Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)

Dallas hosted training camp in Cedar Park and Texas opens training camp next week, so the mailbag is progressing from summer speculation to — hopefully — hard facts and opinions that we can count on for the 2015-16 season.

So, let’s get started.

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Not going to break it down into lines. I want to see some chemistry between younger guys first.

But, I will break down the forward locks, good bets, and fringe players to make the AHL roster.

Locks (8): Travis Morin, Derek Hulak, Brendan Ranford, Jason Dickinson, Justin Dowling, Greg Rallo, Radek Faksa, Devin Shore.

No surprises here. All eight of these players should be in the lineup on consistent basis, barring injuries.

Good bets (3): Remie Elie, Matej Stransky, Cole Ully.

Elie and Ully have both been impressive in training camp and will be rookies this season. Stransky is entering an interesting season. He’s played well at times, but his skating ability and inability to fit in with centers not named Radek Faksa has hurt his stock.

Fringe (3): Gemel Smith, Taylor Peters, Emil Molin.

Smith has had a disappointing training camp and didn’t impress in Traverse City, where he was one of the older players and should have relied on that AHL experience. Peters is good on face-offs, but hasn’t really fit well with Laxdal’s system, while Molin is making his North American debut this season.

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When you consider my expectations for them entering camp, Cole Ully, Ludwig Bystrom, and Matt Mangene, all immediately come to mind.

Ully — and this dates back to his performance in Traverse City a week earlier — has rocketed his stock in the organization and has shown he’s got some nice skills to go along with his blazing speed.

Bystrom is bigger, stronger, and smarter than he was last season. Before camp started I expected him to be a bottom pairing defenseman in the AHL. Now, I could see him on the second or first pairing (depending on how the Stars want to mix and match) and getting legitimate power play time.

Mangene is on an AHL contract, and I thought organizational depth could force him to Idaho this season. Instead, he’s impressed during training camp and Dallas Stars coach Lindy Ruff mentioned Mangene by name when talking about younger players that impressed him.

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Piggybacking on the prior answer here and going with Cole Ully.

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I think Ully slots in nicely as a second or third-line winger, who should be able to take advantage of his speed in the AHL. He’s too small to fit on a fourth line if Laxdal decides to use a “heavier lineup” like he has at times in the past.

I don’t think Morin is disappointed about being named captain. As much as he wants to play in the NHL, he knows he’s a spot player and an insurance policy in case of an injury. Some in the organization think Morin being named captain will elevate his game and leadership qualities.

Mattias Janmark will be playing in Sweden this season. Jim Nill told me that if it’s between the AHL and Sweden and he’ll be playing in Sweden.

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Dmitry Sinitsyn signed a two-year deal in the KHL this summer, which means he’s at least two years away from playing in the AHL.

It’s too early to tell on some of the younger prospects. But, players like Justin Dowling and Brendan Ranford are career AHLers in my mind.

That doesn’t mean they won’t play more NHL games in their career. It just means they’ll play more of their career in the AHL than the NHL — think of the Travis Morin or Greg Rallo career model.

I don’t think Oleksiak is a trade candidate right now, even is he’s not in Dallas’ top six defensemen. He has too much value to be put on waivers and clear, but he doesn’t have enough value right now to demand the return Dallas would want for him.

The Stars aren’t going to give up on Oleksiak for a fourth or fifth-round pick. He’s a project, and they’re going to see what happens.

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Yes, Morin is officially the Stars captain.

In the AHL, with constant turnover on rosters, the captaincy is often determined by coaches and the general manager.

Morin is also going to be part of the Stars for longer. He’s under contract until 2018, while Greg Rallo is on a one-year AHL deal.

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I’d take the over on 24.

If I was setting a line I would set Jack Campbell’s wins this season I would set it at 27.5. Now, would you take the over or under on that?

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Dallas should start making more cuts this weekend. Texas opens training camp on Monday.

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