The big news coming out of morning skate this morning is that left wing Matt Fraser will not only get into tonight's game against the Nashville Predators, but that the rookie sniper will be on the second line with Derek Roy and Loui Eriksson.
"[Fraser] is in, [Roussel] is out," coach Glen Gulutzan said after today's skate. "We thought [Roussel] has played great for us but we liked what we've seen from [Fraser] on his work over the week, and he'll be on a line with Roy and Eriksson. He's scored a lot of goals in the American Hockey League, but he has to come up here and dig in -- in a really tough game."
Matt Fraser has earned a reputation as a purely one-dimensional forward incapable of playing defense. Those struggles defensively almost certainly delayed his NHL debut, despite scoring 61 goals in his first 124 games with the Texas Stars. This season, however, Fraser has found a more well-rounded approach and has a plus-12 on the season, despite scoring 13 of his 24 goals on the power play.
The rookie forward will now get a prime opportunity in his second NHL game, playing on the second line and likely getting a good look on the power play as well. If Fraser can prove that he can produce and be as offensively dynamic at the NHL level as he has been down in Austin, then he'll certainly find himself a permanent spot in Dallas sooner than later. The trick is to prove it, however, as the Stars seem prepared to put him in the best situations for what he does best.
Matt Fraser Playing on Second Line
Defending Big D | Feb 25