DALLAS — Denis Gurianov will make his NHL debut as the Dallas Stars close out the regular season against the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday.
“I just saw him in the room,” Stars assistant general manager Scott White said. “I told him he’s got to skate, he’s got to shoot the puck. If he does all those things, he’ll be in good shape tonight. I think it’s a great time for him, he’s going to be nervous, but this is a thrill for him.”
Gurianov, still only 19, has 25 points (10 goals, 15 assists) in 54 AHL games and helped Russia win bronze at the World Junior Championships in January.
“I’m very happy that I’m here,” Gurianov said. “I will try hard to help team.”
The Stars had an optional morning skate so it’s hard to project where Gurianov will play Saturday. But the teenager could play either wing.
Mark McNeill will make his Dallas Stars debut after arriving in a trade from the Chicago Blackhawks. McNeill made his NHL debut with Chicago last season and sees this game as a big opportunity to make an impression.
“I don’t think many people in the organization have seen me up close yet, so it’s a chance to make an impression,” McNeill said. “I’m excited about that opportunity.”
Oleksiak stitched up
Jamie Oleksiak is still sporting a fat lip after taking a puck to the face against the Nashville Predators.
Oleksiak said he had to get 18 stitches on and around his lip and said he’s had “lots of smoothies” in the past couple games.
Colorado didn’t have a morning skate, but expect back-up goalie Jeremy Smith to get the start with Colorado playing back-to-back games to close out the season.
Stars projected lineup
Jamie Benn — Cody Eakin — Devin Shore
Remi Elie — Tyler Seguin — Denis Gurianov
Gemel Smith — Radek Faksa — Jason Spezza
Jason Dickinson — Adam Cracknell — Mark McNeill
Esa Lindell — John Klingberg
Dan Hamhuis — Julius Honka
Patrik Nemeth — Greg Pateryn
Scratched: Jamie Oleksiak, Stephen Johns
Injured: Mattias Janmark (knee), Antoine Roussel (hand), Curtis McKenzie (eye), Jiri Hudler (groin), Ales Hemsky (hip), Brett Ritchie (charlie horse), Justin Dowling (concussion-like symptoms), Patrick Sharp (hip)