Training camp notes: Dallas Stars’ Peverley out three weeks after heart procedure

Posted Saturday, Sep. 14, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
More information Saturday’s camp schedule Green and White scrimmage: 10 a.m.-noon, Fort Worth Convention Center Exhibition opener Stars vs. Blues 6 p.m., Sunday, American Airlines Center

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New Dallas Stars forward Rich Peverley underwent a procedure to correct an irregular heartbeat and will be out for three weeks, Stars general manager Jim Nill said Friday.

The nonsurgical procedure resets the heart’s rhythm by applying a shock to the heart, Nill said.

The issue was discovered Wednesday when players underwent physicals after reporting to training camp.

The 31-year-old former Boston Bruin, acquired in the trade that also brought Tyler Seguin to Dallas this summer, is an option to play many roles for the Stars as well as provide a veteran presence to a young team, Nill said.

“He’s a big part of our team,” Nill said Friday at the Fort Worth Convention Center. “He’s very versatile. He can play up with good players. He can play in a second- or third-line role. He’s very good in faceoffs. He can play the wing. He’s just a player that can play in any situation.”

Peverley scored six goals and notched 12 assists last season for the Boston Bruins. He added two goals in the Bruins’ playoff run.

Eakin shines

Stars coach Lindy Ruff said he’s very impressed with the play of second-year center Cody Eakin.

That impact has him tentatively slated on a line with veteran winger Ray Whitney and last season’s breakout call-up Alex Chiasson, Ruff said. Those three could make up the Stars’ second line.

“I really like the way [Eakin] plays.” Ruff said. “He might have been the best player on the ice.”

From his play last season to his impact in training camp, Eakin is already drawing comparisons to former Stars forward Steve Ott.

“He really irritated some of the players on the other team and he drew some penalties,” Ruff said. “He likes having the puck and he’s tough on the wall. I know he’s on the smaller side, but he comes out and competes on every shift.”

Eakin will likely see time with Chiasson and Whitney in Saturday’s scrimmage, as Ruff said several of the lines will be paired together to watch compatibility.

Eakin played in all 48 games during last season’s lockout-shortened schedule, scoring seven goals and 17 assists.

Coppell native in mix

No Stars player might know Fort Worth as right wing Austin Smith does.

Smith made headlines in 2007 when the Coppell native was drafted 128th overall by his hometown team, making him the first North Texas product to be drafted.

Six years later, he is finally getting a chance to crack an NHL team’s roster with an invitation to Stars’ training camp.

The Fort Worth camp gives Smith an opportunity to prove he belongs on the NHL roster — one that might have two open spaces with Peverley and defenseman Aaron Rome potentially out for the first few games of the season.

“Everyone is here to earn a spot,” Smith said. “If it’s reality, that’s great. I’m here and that has to be my mindset. I want to do everything I can do to earn a spot, but at the end of the day, if it’s not my time yet, then my goal is to keep getting better and keep working hard and put up numbers wherever I go, whether it’s here or Austin.”

Smith spent last season, his first as a pro, with the Idaho Steelheads in the ECHL, after playing collegiately for Colgate. With Idaho, he had 50 points, with 27 goals, and he scored seven goals in the playoffs.

Jim Nill said Smith should be a player that is assigned to the Stars’ top farm team in Cedar Park, near Austin.

“Last year was his first year as a pro, and he’s learned what it takes now,” Nill said. “I think he’s much more comfortable here. He knew he had to get stronger and faster, and I think he’s looking forward to getting a new opportunity. “

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