Originally posted on Fox Sports Southwest  |  Last updated 10/30/11
When the Dallas Stars let All-Star center Brad Richards leave the team via free agency over the summer, many wondered how the club would replace his point production in this, the first season under new head coach Glen Gulutzan. Almost from the moment Gully was hired to coach this team back in June, the answer was simple-scoring by committee. While there were a number of skeptics, through the first 11 games, where the Stars are 8-3-0, that approach has paid pretty big dividends. So far, Dallas has had 12 different players find the back of the net and 13 different players have at least one assist. That balance is also evident when it comes to who has been scoring game-winning goals as six different Stars have that distinction through 11 games. One player who many felt would be looked to in order to help pick up the offensive slack left by Richards' departure to the Rangers was third-year winger Jamie Benn. The talented Mr. Benn currently leads the Stars with 10 points, adding an assist in Saturday's 3-1 win over the Devils thanks to his role in Loui Eriksson's team-leading sixth goal of the year. Eriksson was an All-Star last season, joining Richards at the midseason classic and if Benn continues his solid production, he could become an All-Star this year. No matter if that happens or not, the new Dallas head coach likes the balanced scoring he's received so far in the young season. "Yeah, we're getting it from everybody and we're going to need to do that. I think the good teams do get that from everybody," Gulutzan said. "I think that our players have bought into going to the net hard and doing the little things by committee so it's natural if the scoring gets spread out." Center Mike Ribeiro, who is setting the table for one of the Stars' top two lines alongside captain Brenden Morrow and newcomer Michael Ryder, was someone else who was expected to help pick up the slack. Ribeiro is currently second on the team in assists, just one behind Benn who has eight helpers and he too likes the fact that his club is getting production from so many different members of the roster. "Everyone is chipping in. Those guys at the back end too are scoring big goals for us," Ribeiro said. "It's just a team concept now. Everyone is scoring goals. Everyone's trying to do the same thing out there and everyone's trying to be on the same page. If we do that and work hard, we have three or four good lines that can create and pressure offensively. We've been playing better and we can still get better. It's good to know that there's not only one line that can do it." But if there's one player whose offensive production has been somewhat surprising early on, that man would have to be defenseman Sheldon Souray. The ex-Oiler added an empty-net goal late in Saturday's win over the Devils, giving him three goals on the season. Souray also assisted on Vernon Fiddler's game-winner earlier in the final period, giving him five assists through the first 11 games. And with eight points, he is one of three Stars, joining Ribeiro and Steve Ott, who are tied for third on the team in assists. "Well, any team that has success through the league, you need that balanced attack," Souray said. "The game has gone to where you need four lines that can play. It's no longer a three-line game with a scoring line and two checking lines. We have lines that can go and contribute any part of the game. The depth is something every team would like to have."
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