CEDAR PARK — The Texas Stars are fielding a young lineup in tonight’s preseason opener against the San Antonio Rampage.
Three of the six defensemen are here on a tryout on basis with Texas, while forwards Brandon Magee, Colton Beck, and Taylor Stefishen are also tryout invitees.
“I think we’re all excited to play in a preseason game against someone else,” Beck said after morning skate on Friday. “I want to show them I can play and contribute at this level.”
It’s one of the last chances to impress Texas Stars coach Derek Laxdal, who said Sunday’s preseason game will be more of a dress rehearsal for opening night.
Laxdal did say that Sunday’s lineup hasn’t been set, and some of the free agents could earn their way into that lineup.
That should send a message to AHL and NHL-contracted players dressing tonight.
Cam Braes, Cory Kane, Emil Molin, Taylor Peters, Gemel Smith, and Branden Troock are all fighting for spots in Texas and trying to avoid ECHL relegation. No one is a lock, but it appears that Devin Shore, Derek Hulak, and Cole Ully — while playing tonight — should be with Texas this season.
“They said ‘Play your game, don’t be someone you’re not,'” Kane said. “Obviously work hard, compete, and win one-on-one battles. Just show them what you’ve got.”
On defense, Matt Mangene, Jesse Blacker, and Brennan Evans are all going to be with Texas this season. But, with five young prospects Dallas wants to see play, there isn’t space for all three in the opening night lineup.
Laxdal said Maxime Lagace will start in goal, while Philippe Desrosiers will finish the game.
Lagace is aware of the split, but he’s excited about getting the start.
“Of course,” Lagace said. “It’s always tougher when you come in the second period. I’m very excited to play the first half, I can’t wait.”
The plan hasn’t been set for Sunday’s preseason game, Laxdal said, and one of the young goalies could earn playing time with a strong performance tonight.
San Antonio didn’t skate in Cedar Park this morning, but the Rampage are expected to field a young lineup according to play-by-play broadcaster Dan Weiss.
Expecting similar for the Rampage. Sounds like Sunday is the dress rehearsal for both clubs. https://t.co/hAszozbG1t
— Dan Weiss (@DanWeissPBP) October 1, 2015
Cam Braes-Devin Shore-Emil Molin
Cory Kane-Brandon Magee-Cole Ully
Colton Beck-Taylor Peters-Taylor Stefishen
Derek Hulak-Gemel Smith-Branden Troock
Cole Martin-Matt Mangene
Jake Rutt-Jesse Blacker
Brennan Evans-Andrew Panzarella