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Stars rule out Nichushkin, recall AHL Rookie of the Year McKenzie

Dallas Stars v Nashville Predators

NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 12: Valeri Nichushkin #43 of the Dallas Stars skates with the puck during a NHL game against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena on December 12, 2013 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery/ Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Valeri Nichushkin

Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery

The Stars swapped out wingers on Tuesday, leaving Valeri Nichushkin (groin/hip) in Dallas for tonight’s game against Columbus while recalling Curtis McKenzie from AHL Texas.

Nichushkin, 19, was hampered by the injury for his first two games of the season, reflected in his numbers -- no goals, no assists, a minus-1 rating and just one shot on goal while averaging 12:43 TOI per game. That opened the door for McKenzie, who has yet to make his NHL debut but proved a vital contributor during AHL Texas’ Calder Cup championship last season.

McKenzie, 23, won the Dudley “Red” Garrett Memorial Award for the AHL’s most outstanding rookie after leading all firs-year players with 27 goals and 65 points. McKenzie then proceeded to add 14 points in 21 playoff games.

It’s unlikely McKenzie draws in tonight, but he could debut on Thursday when the Stars take on the Penguins in Pittsburgh.

Related: ‘Our top guys have struggled,’ says Dallas coach Ruff