The Dallas Stars were serious about moving top gun Jamie Benn to the wing.
The off-season addition of Tyler Seguin, Rich Peverley and Shawn Horcoff allows Benn to move outside and concentrate on scoring. “We feel Jamie is best used as a wing, and we want to keep him out there and let him concentrate on his game out there,” general manager Jim Nill told Dallas reporters during a news conference.
Seguin mostly played on the wing in Boston, which was loaded down the middle. Peverley can play on the wing, too, and Horcoff played some on the wing in Edmonton. But two of those three figure to play center, along with veteran Vernon Fiddler and youngster Cody Eakin.
“The teams that win have centermen who can play both sides of the puck,” Horcoff told reporters at his introductory news conference. “My belief is if you are going to play that position, you have to be able to play on both sides of the puck. For me, I’m not worried about the defensive side. I’ve played a few years now against the best center on the other team. But what I need to do, and what I’m looking forward to, is showing I can get back and play the offensive side again.”
Peverley is an excellent face-off man and Horcoff is sold as well. That was a glaring weakness for the Stars last season.
“It is important,” Horcoff told reporters. “It’s a puck possession game now and you need to have the puck. I think with the ability we have as far as defensemen who can skate and handle the puck and forwards with speed, we’re going to want the puck. It’s a battle for the puck every game, and I believe that over the course of 82 games if you have the puck more than the other team, the odds are you’re going to win. That starts in the faceoff circle. If you’re chasing the puck all night, it can be exhausting, so I think it’s great we have options with lefties and righties. It’s not as comfortable on your weak side, it just isn’t.”