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.
Adam Pardy was one of the group of players signed by the Stars on July 1st and while his two million dollar a year over two years deal raised a few eyebrows if for no other reason than outside Flames fans and observers, not many people know a lot about the 27 year old defenseman and the deal did seem to come out of left field even though the Flames signed him to a two year 1.4 million dollar deal after his rookie season, knowing full well a player his age and physical ability would warrant a bigger contract in the open market.
The one thing Stars fans should know above all else is that Pardy fits GM Joe Nieuwendyk's mantra of being "tough to play against" as his 173 hits in 147 games played over the last three NHL seasons will attest. Pardy is known as a rugged, stay-at-home defensemen that won't hesitate to throw his weight around, but it's that rugged play that took a toll on his body as he missed most of the 2010-11 season with a nagging shoulder injury that he had surgery on back in February.
But if he can remain healthy and on the ice, Pardy has no problem chewing up minutes on the blueline as he's averaged a little over 15 minutes per game over his three seasons. He can also play special teams although his puck moving ability - or lack thereof - may prevent the Stars from leaning on him down a man this season. Of course if his penalty minute numbers are any indication - 24 PIMs over 30 games played with all of them being minor penalties - that as well may limit his chances to help the Stars take care of the penalty kill.
Pardy's offensive numbers have been pretty much non-existent as he's only had 4 goals and 22 assists in his three seasons with the Calgary Flames. In joining the Stars Adam looks to take on a bigger role than he had with the Flames and under coach Glen Gulutzan who is likely familiar with Pardy's ability during Adam's brief stint with the Las Vegas Wranglers of the ECHL in 2005 - he will be given a chance to prove he can be more than a 5th or 6th defenseman for the Stars. Even if Adam can't crack the top two defensive lines, at the very least he is still a very solid upgrade defensively over what the Stars have had the last few seasons.
Rankings wise, the fact Pardy is one spot higher than say Mark Fistric who we just profiled at number 17 is pretty much a result of the fact that Pardy is known as a very sound, positional defenseman who does not over commit on a play and rarely loses his man when covering in his own zone. While Fistric is entering his fifth NHL season while Pardy is just entering his fourth, Adam may be asked to help lead the way for a younger in age Fistric and show him how a player with a similar size and build can be effective in reading and recognizing a play then eliminating an opposing forward with a hard hit.