Over the next month, Defending Big D will be counting down the most important "impact" players for the upcoming season for the Dallas Stars. Starting from the player we believe will have the smallest influence on this season to the player with the most, we'll countdown from #23 all the way to the top as we get ready for what we hope will be a very promising season.
Toby Petersen had a rough season last year. In January, Petersen took a shot during practice that caused what was labeled as a "lower body injury" (which, if I remember correctly, was actually a fracture in the leg...ouch!) This was less than a month after he missed 6 games with a broken hand (double ouch!) The injury bug was not kind to Petersen, and the Stars will need Petersen to be more fortunate in that area this coming season.
Petersen is one of the better two-way forwards the Stars have had on the fourth line. He has been utilized mostly on the second penalty kill unit, amassing the 6th highest short-handed time on ice of all forwards on the Stars squad. One astounding fact: Petersen scored 2 goals last season. Those goals? Both were shorthanded, and was good to tie for the second most on the team in that category.
He tied with Steve Ott (2), behind the team leader Jamie Benn (4). So even though he doesn't "wow" on the scoresheet, when Petersen gets chances he can make the most of them. Chipping in occasionally on the scoresheet will help the team to score by committee, which is what is needed to help replace the offense of departed Brad Richards.
The place where Petersen will impact the team the most will be as a role model to the younger guys on the team. As one of the most experienced members of the team, Petersen's hard work during practice as well as his "never give up" attitude will have a great influence on the younger guys. His two-way game will also be of great benefit to a team that is preaching "hard to play against." Expect Petersen to be a consistent and steadying force on the fourth line for the Stars this season.