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Player review: Nicklas Grossman

We continue with our player reviews, which started with goalies and have worked their way out to the blue line. You can look at the other reviews on the Stars blog.

Today's player: Nicklas Grossman

Grossman, 25, played on the top pair with Stephane Robidas for most of the season, using his size -- 6-foot-4, 226 pounds -- to make that duo a difficult one to play against. Grossman got duty against some of the best players on the opposing team and held his own. He finished with seven assists and a minus-7 rating. Grossman averaged 19:11 of ice time. A back injury prevented him from hitting over the 20-minute mark as he played in 71 of the club's 82 games.

Grossman got some time on the penalty kill, averaging 2:07 of shorthanded time per game. He's also a guy that isn't afraid to get into a scrap or two if necessary.

Grossman made steady improvement, figuring out better gap control and how to use his size to his advantage. The Stars expect him to continue to develop in those (and more) areas. He's not going to be a scoring defenseman. The Stars just want him to be a solid blue line player that can handle some of the top opposing players.

Grossman played in 81 games in the 2008-09 season, with 12 points and a minus-8 rating. He made his NHL debut with the Stars briefly (eight games) during the 2006-07 season. He played in 62 games in 2007-08, his first full season in the NHL.

BTW, John Trancina wrote a good article on Grossman and his game for the Stars website earlier this year.