The Dallas Stars may miss more than Alex Goligoski's offense as the man that Brandon Worley would really, really like in a Stars uniform looks on.
Safe to say now that the Stars are mired in a three game losing streak, this rough patch started when Alex Goligoski took a puck off his right hand in his first game back in Pittsburgh since the trade last January that sent him to Dallas.
In the eight full periods of play that he's missed since leaving his homecoming game in Pittsburgh in the first period, the Stars have not looked anywhere like the scoring machine that they were against Colorado, Carolina, and Washington. They managed to get to two goals against Detroit before getting shut out in last night's putrid performance against Florida where it just seemed like they never got their legs going.
To be sure, last night's loss against Florida was the kind of loss you usually see from every team in the league at least once per season. As such, I'm not going to try and tell you that a Goligoski or even a Steve Ott would have made much of a difference against the Panthers last night. Not when the entire team, it seemed like, was skating like they were in quicksand.
But there's no doubt that since Goligoski went out, the Stars have not been the same.
So what do the deeper numbers tell us?
First of all, I'm using data from my own spreadsheet, Behindthenet, and from Josh Lile's scoring chance project. Which in the spirit of giving thanks with Thanksgiving around the corner, we here at DBD are quite grateful for the work he's done. And for all the work that Taylor and Erin have done for the site.
Not much of a surprise if you've been following the scoring chance data that Josh has provided us (and in the spirit of giving thanks, thanks Josh) all year long. He has a +11, which leads the Stars blueliners (Robidas is 2nd with a +3 and every other defenseman was in minus territory after the Pittsburgh game).
Then there's the SFON/60-SFOFF/60 and SAON/60-SAOFF/60 splits, which show 27.1/23.9 on the SF/60 splits and a 25.3/31.4 for the SA/60 splits.
Stephane Robidas and Sheldon Souray have positive SFON/60-SAON60 splits and Mark Fistric has a positive SAON/60-SAOFF/60, but Goligoski is the only Stars defenseman with positive splits in both categories
And then there's the CORSI numbers which show Goligoski, far and away, leading the team in relative CORSI (On-Ice Corsi relative to Off-Ice Corsi) with an 18.0 (Mark Fistric 12.6) thanks in large part to the fact he's the only Stars defenseman with an On-Ice CORSI rating in positive territory (3.29 in case you're interested).
So obviously, Goligoski is going to be missed for the next 3-4 weeks. Which leaves Glen Gulutzan and the Stars with a few options.
You can hope that Philip Larsen can step right in and help fill the offensive void that Goligoski is leaving behind. But that might be a bit much for him to take on considering his inexperience at the NHL level.
Of course, how much he might contribute is a moot point if you start giving up five goals in one game and six the next.