Stars looking to the kids to fill multiple holes on blue line

Ronald Martinez / Getty Images Sport / Getty

The Dallas Stars are set to promote a few employees. Defensemen, in particular.

Even after trading the negotiating rights of blue-liner Alex Goligoski to the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday, the Stars will head into July 1 with another three defensemen set to hit the open market: Jordie Benn, Jason Demers, and trade-deadline acquisition Kris Russell.

That's a lot of minutes to fill. But general manager Jim Nill isn't panicking, because he's relying on some of the kids - Stephen Johns, Esa Lindell, Patrik Nemeth, and Jamie Oleksiak - to step up.

"It's time for them to start grabbing more of the action," Nill told the Stars' website. "If nothing happens, we are comfortable going with what we have right now. If there is somebody out there that is a fit for us, great. They've got to fit for us as a player and fit for us financially. We've got lots of flexibility, and it opens the door for us in other ways."

D-Men GP Ice Time Per Game
Russell* 11 24:02
Goligoski* 82 23:50
John Klingberg 76 22:41
Demers* 62 20:52
Johnny Oduya 82 20:23
Johns 14 17:50
Benn* 64 15:39
Nemeth 38 15:38
Lindell 4 14:03
Oleksiak 19 12:43

*UFA

Among the top four Stars defensemen in average ice time - including Russell's small sample size - only John Klingberg is returning. And the Stars may yet sign Russell, Demers, or Benn, but there are certainly holes on the blue line.

Sink or swim, gents.

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Stars looking to the kids to fill multiple holes on blue line
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