We continue our series of grading each player that played a role for the Stars in the 2009-2010 season. At the end of each feature, you get to select the overall grade for each individual player. This is something we'll continue doing each season, and is a tool we can use to determine a player's progress year by year.
Key Stat: Skrastins will never be confused with an offensive threat, but for one night on December 19th of 2009 he played the part scoring twice and assisting on a third to help the Stars in a win over Detroit. Of the 29 career goals he has, seven of them are good for game winners.
The Good: Signed as a free agent in the summer of 2009, Stars fans and managment expected a shot blocking expert and Karlis certainly didn't disapoint placing second on the team with 156 blocked shots. He also took care of the puck only having 21 giveaways during the season. While he's not known as being one of the more physical defensemen on the team he actually upped the amount of hits he had in a season from 39 with Florida the year before to 52 with the Stars.
The Bad: Karlis seemed to be having a pretty solid season for the Stars until the olympic break where he was leaned heavily on as one of two NHlers on the Latvian team. When he returned to Dallas, he seemed like a player who had been mentally and physically beaten down. He was caught out of position more often and beaten to the net by opponents more often than in the first half of the season.
The Bottom Line: Take away the downward trend in play he had near the end of the season - which admittedly a lot of Dallas Stars players suffered from - and 2009-10 was a pretty good year for Karlis and he did exactly what the Stars expected him to do bringing him in. Skrastins is a shot blocking workhorse and as long as he keeps committing to that aspect of the game, he will see plenty of ice time with the Stars in 10-11. The notion is that players who like to block shots also like to hit alot, but that part of the game isn't in Karlis' nature - which is acceptable as well so long as long as he has a physical partner to do that for him.
The Vote: On a scale of 1-10 (10 being the best) give Skrastins a rating based on his performance relative to his potential and your expectations for the season - if he had the best year you could have imagined him having, give him a 10; if he more or less played as you expected he would, give him a 5 or a 6; if he had the worst year you could have imagined him having, give him a 1.