The following article was posted on www.sportsday.dallasnews.com featuring former St. Lawrence standout Gavin Bayreuther
By: Matthew DeFranks
FRISCO -- A preseason absence could open up an opportunity for young Stars defenseman Gavin Bayreuther, the 24-year-old second-year pro who has never played in an NHL game.
Stephen Johns, expected to be a stalwart in the Stars' top two defensive pairings, missed practice again Friday morning and has practiced just once since the team returned from Boise on Sept. 16. Johns has not played in any of Dallas' six preseason games, including Friday night's 3-1 loss to the Blues in St. Louis.
Stars coach Jim Montgomery said earlier this week that the team hoped Johns would recover from the undisclosed injury to play in the final exhibition Sunday against Colorado. With each passing day, though, concern increases.
"Every day it grows, right?" Montgomery said. "Every day we're getting closer to Oct. 4. But there's nothing we can do. You got to wait for someone to feel right themselves most importantly. ... It's most important whenever a player comes back that they feel right so they're comfortable on the ice and they can execute."
Montgomery said Johns has been able to work on his conditioning off the ice and said the team was "being really patient" with the 26-year-old.
With Johns out, though, Bayreuther has been given a chance to shine. Friday night's preseason game in St. Louis was his fifth appearance in six games, tying Julius Honka, Jason Dickinson and Roope Hintz for most on the team.
In the AHL last season, Bayreuther was the highest-scoring Texas defenseman with 32 points in 71 games. It was his first year playing professionally after four seasons at St. Lawrence University. While he possesses an offensive skill set, that's not what Montgomery and the Stars want from him -- at least not now.
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