We continue our player reviews looking at the forwards. Check out the previous player reviews on the ESPNDallas.com Stars blog here.
Today's player: Toby Petersen.
Petersen, 31, has established himself as an important depth player for the Stars. He provides steady, consistent play at the center position. He is versatile enough to play on nearly any line and isn't a player that makes many mistakes.
Petersen has played well enough the past few seasons to earn a contract extension in April. He'll make $700,000 next season and $800,000 the following season.
Petersen, the Stars hope, can become something like Stu Barnes. One of the best things about Barnes was that he could play anywhere and with anyone -- either side or in the center. Petersen plays all three forward positions as well and can plug holes when injuries occur.
Petersen is considered a great character guy in the dressing room. He's extremely coachable and has shown the ability to quietly lead the younger group of players. It seems that whenever I was in the dressing room, Matt Niskanen, Mark Fistric, Nicklas Grossman and others were talking to him and asking advice.
The question is, how much potential does Petersen have? He's not a huge player, so he's not completely suited to a long-term role as a checking-line center. He needs work on his faceoffs and he won't score a bunch of goals (in that he doesn't play on the top line or on the power play). The nine goals certainly aren't bad (and were his NHL career high), and he showed some scoring punch in his younger days. But the key is he's versatile and good for the dressing room. Don't underestimate the importance of that. Petersen will have a big role in the dressing room this season.