There are a lot of ways to look at Dallas’ 6-5 shootout loss to the Blues.

I’m going to take this one: After just four days of watching this new-look Stars team I get the feeling they are going to be very exciting. They have speed they have skill they have a lot of moving parts that the coaching staff is going to have to learn to assemble in just the right manner. And if it does there’s no telling how good this group can be.

Yes this is pre-season Game 1. Yes the Blues brought a fraction of their best players. Yes drawing conclusion at this time of the year is folly at best.

But when you watched Valeri Nichushkin power his way around the ice score two goals and put nine shots on net you really believed he could do that against any players at any level. When you watched the power play move the puck with laser passes on just one day of practice you envisioned a team that doesn’t stink with the man advantage. When you saw that the Stars had a 38-35 edge in shots on goal and a 38-29 advantage in faceoffs you thought to yourself “Huh that seems different from last season.”

So why can’t they keep that up right?

Nichushkin is just 18. He was just drafted in June. He is a real wildcard for this team because they really really don’t want to send him back to the KHL. They really really want him to develop his skills on this size ice in this league with this kind of physical play. They really really want him to learn English and embrace the culture and become a Stars player for the next 20 years. They want him to be like Pavel Datsyuk or Henrik Zetterberg or Sergei Zubov or Jere Lehtinen. And by that they don’t exactly want him to become a superstar (although that would be nice) they want him to become a foreign player who is a part of the organization a happy professional a guy who fits in Dallas.

The first step in that process is making sure he’s on the ice. If he’s a player the coaches trust who helps the team win then there’s less worry about a battle with a coach or an unhappy agent or discussions about returning to Russia. If he plays well he’s going to be just fine here.

And watching Sunday’s offering it sure looks like he can play well. He pounded the front of the net for a rebound goal. He was nothing short of spectacular in scoring an unassisted goal while skating two thirds the length of the ice in the third period. He had nine shots on goal. Nine! He was a force to be reckoned with.

And even if that’s playing street hockey in Coppell it has to be seen as a good sign at this time of the year.

There will be time to ask more from him but now is not yet that time.