Tyler Seguin proving to be good fit on Dallas Stars’ top line

Posted Saturday, Sep. 14, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Dallas Stars forwards Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin were destined to be on the same line from the time general manager Jim Nill orchestrated the trade for Seguin this summer.

That pairing had long been inked on the lineup card.

Luckily for the Stars’ organization, the chemistry between the two matches the talent level theypossess.

Matched with right wing Erik Cole, the line put the Green team on the board first with a Seguin goal, leading to a 5-4 victory over the White team in Saturday’s scrimmage in front of around 1,000 fans at Fort Worth Convention Center, marking the end of the team’s stay in Cowtown.

For Seguin, he has found unity with his line and teammates in their desire to prove themselves.

“It’s such a positive atmosphere right now and everyone is walking around like they have a chip on their shoulder like they have something to prove and I know from my standpoint I definitely do,” he said.

“They were impressive,” Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. “I thought Tyler had a real good day. He had a real good day yesterday and an even better one today. I think Erik probably had his best day today.”

Cole said he liked the feel of the group heading into Sunday’s exhibition opener against the St. Louis Blues at American Airlines Center as the Stars’ top line.

Seguin moves back into his natural position at center, moving Benn also to his first home on the ice, left wing. That positioning allows the speedy Seguin to create space on the break and add to the Stars’ puck possession game in transition, Ruff said.

“He’s a very, very dynamic player and has some special talents on the ice for sure,” Cole said. “He makes other guys around him better, which is a real positive. He’s a good kid, and he’s come in and worked real hard and he’s fit right into the group.”

Seguin said over their brief time together with the Stars, he and Benn have been together 24-7 off the ice, which adds to the on-ice chemistry.

Finding his way

When right wing Valeri Nichushkin was taken 10th overall in the 2013 draft, the Stars believed they were getting an NHL-ready player.

Nichushkin might make his way onto the opening-night roster, but it hasn’t been without some growing pains, both on-ice and culturally.

The Russian left his home country and the KHL to join the Stars in a league with a smaller rinks and a language he doesn’t know.

Luckily, before drafting Nichushkin, Jim Nill worked a deal to bring veteran defenseman and fellow Russian Sergei Gonchar to Dallas.

So far, Gonchar, who is second among active NHL defensemen with 1,177 games played, has done exactly as expected by mentoring the young talent.

“Obviously, it’s tough for him now because he doesn’t speak English much, so he doesn’t understand what’s going on,” Gonchar said. “I’m trying to help him as much as I can because I was in the same situation when I got in the NHL.”

What has come as a pleasant surprise to Ruff beyond Nichushkin’s work ethic is his desire to work at learning English and bonding with players other than Gonchar.

“I’ve found that he’s starting to understand more already,” Ruff said. “I had a conversation with him last night at the hotel where I was surprised how well he spoke and the stuff he understood. I think that development is important. That he just isn’t with his Russian buddy speaking Russian and he understands that, too.”

Nichushkin closed his time in Fort Worth by scoring a goal in Saturday’s scrimmage, whipping a quick wrister off goalkeeper Jack Campbell, off the crossbar and into the net.

Ruff said Nichushkin will see some time in Sunday’s exhibition, but he needs some time to rest after a busy week at a prospects tournament in Traverse City, Mich., and playing in three scrimmages in Fort Worth.

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