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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Season Preview: – Dundee Stars

The Stars join fellow Scottish newcomers Braehead taking the EIHL to a ten team league.  Unlike Braehead, Dundee have been around for a number of seasons, the last few spent in the relative wilderness of the SNL following the collapse of the BNL where the Stars achieved plenty of success.

The Stars new head coach is no stranger to these shores, former Sheffield Steeler, Nottingham Panther and Bracknell Bee, Dan Ceman, who is taking his first head coach job.

GOALIE
Jared Kaufmann takes on the role as starter for the Stars. Kaufmann spent last season in the IHL with Quad City Mallards in his first year pro. Doesn’t have the pedigree of some of the other goalies in the league but still young and could be a surprise signing.  Kaufmann will be backed up by Mark McGill.

DEFENCE
Size seems to be the order of the day on the Stars’ blueline.  Both Steve Makway and Matt Sudermann should provide toughness and size and the back, while Jason Tessier should also add some offence.  All three come with having played much of their careers in the CHL, and combined with an unproven goalie, the Stars look a little weak compared to some teams with their ex-AHLers patrolling the blueline.  Italian-Canadian Lucianno Lomanno will be looked on to bring some offence to the Stars blueline having put up decent numbers in the last three years playing in Italy.  The Stars defence is completed by Scot Euan Forsyth and local lad Sam McKluskey. Dundee will be hoping they can both make the big jump after playing for the Stars in the SNL last season.

FORWARDS
Coach Dan Ceman and assistant coach, Brent Hughes lead the Stars front line.  Ceman has a proven track record in the UK where he could be found among the leading scorers in the latter days of the ISL and more recently put up decent numbers for Nottingham and Sheffield in the Elite League. Ceman has spent the last few years in Denmark where he has continued to rack up the points, although his production has dropped off a little. Hughes has shown he is capable of putting up a point a game in the Elite League. They are joined by Peter Cartwright who was among the leading scorers in Holland last season despite player for the leagues basement team. The Stars will be hoping he can reproduce that scoring touch this season. Beyond this Stars look to lack a little lacklustre in the scoring department. “The Sheriff”, Sean McMorrow arrives from Belfast and will certainly add toughness to the line-up as should new comer Mark Nebus, while AJ Maclean should give the team a solid in unspectacular forward.  The Stars still have two import slots available and looking at the roster as it stands, I would expect these will be forwards who can hopefully add some offensive output to the team. John Dolan and Gary Wishart make the jump up from the Stars SNL side while fellow Brit Kris Phillips joins from the Edinburgh Capitals.

SUMMARY
The Stars seem to have plenty of toughness so the opposition are unlikely to be in for an easy ride, however, games are won on the ice and not in the penalty box.  Defensively, Dundee don’t have the talent proven at the higher levels that other teams have, and when matched with some of the top forwards could be in for a tough night, particularly if they have trouble staying out of the penalty box. Compared to other teams in the league they look to be lacking in firepower and don’t have many players who have played much if any of their career at a level higher than the CHL.  With two imports still to sign, the look of the team could change considerably depending on who those signings are, but if they are not top end forwards, it could be a long season for the Stars.

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