Bill Meltzer: Stars Preseason Gameday: 9/24/ 14 @ Florida; Dillon Status

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On the heels on Monday’s 4-3 regulation win over St. Louis in the preseason opener at the American Airlines Center, the Dallas Stars take to the road tonight to face off against the Florida Panthers in Sunrise, FL. Game time is 6:30 PM CDT.

Stars captain Jamie Benn, top line center Tyler Seguin and second-year right winger Valeri Nichushkin are expected to see their first preseason action tonight.

Among other regulars who did not dress in Monday’s game were Cody Eakin, Trevor Daley and Alex Goligoski. Sergei Gonchar was originally slated to play on Monday but sat out for precautionary reasons after getting hit up high with a puck in Sunday’s scrimmage in Fort Worth.

Prior to Monday’s game, Stars head coach Lindy Ruff told the Dallas media that he expected to have three entirely different sets of defense pairs for tonight’s tilt in Florida. Monday’s game featured Jordie Benn and Kevin Connauton as well as prospects Jyrki Jokipakka, Jamie Oleksiak, Patrik Nemeth and 2014 first-round pick Julius Honka on defense.

Yesterday, the Stars made three unsurprising roster cuts. Goaltender Philippe Desrosiers (second-round pick in the 2013 Draft), has been returned to the QMJHL’s Rimouski Oceanic. Fellow 2013 second-round pick Remi Elie, a left winger, has been re-assigned to the OHL’s Belleville Bulls. Dallas’ 2014 second round pick, center Brett Pollock, has been returned to the WHL’s Edmonton Oil Kings.

One young veteran player who is still not in the Stars’ camp is unsigned restricted free agent defenseman Brenden Dillon. The 23-year-old is trying to stay in game shape by skating with the WHL’s Vancouver Giants while his agent negotiates a bridge contract with Dallas. Dillon’s entry-level contract expired on July 1. An emerging leader on the Stars’ blueline, Dillon is the most physical presence on the Stars’ defense and also adds much needed size to what is still currently an undersized group (that will change in the relatively near future as bigger-framed prospects graduate to the NHL). He is also an above-average puck mover for someone his size.

Dillon recently told the Vancouver Sun that he is experiencing the business side of the game for the first time — there was no real negotiation needed on his entry-level deal — and is not enjoying the process. However, the player said that he feels he deserves to get paid like a bonafide top-four defenseman.

While he admitted his frustration with not being in camp with his Stars’ teammates, Dillon said he was still confident a deal would get done in time for the season.

This post originally appeared on www.hockeybuzz.com and we thank them for permission to rebroadcast it here.

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