Does The New Personnel Help The Power Play?

Bruce Bennett

The Stars have made numerous changes to the lineup. Can we reasonably expect an improvement on last year?

The Stars power play last year was awful. They generated the fewest shots per 60 minutes of power play time in the league at 39.8. That makes last season's Dallas Stars power play the worst the league has seen since the 2007-2008 Edmonton Oilers. If they plan on making the playoffs this year the power play has to improve significantly and do so in a very short period of time.

The Stars have made a lot of changes up front that should make a big impact on the effectiveness of the power play. The primary issue up front last year is how little the Stars generated with Mike Ribeiro on the ice. We've chronicled the issues in this space before. The Stars generated very little offense with him on the ice (6th among Stars forwards in shots/60), but he was also given significantly more power play time than any other forward.

Ribeiro got 11 seconds more power play time per game than any other forward which adds up over an 82 game season. He took 40 seconds more per game than Jamie Benn who was the Stars most effective player with the extra man. The Ribeiro trade opens up the certainty that Benn will see an increase in power play time that will allow him the chance to make a big impact on the power play.

The Stars three key new forwards also have a history of successful power play time. The following chart is a three year time lapse of power play shots per 60 minutes for Derek Roy, Jaromir Jagr, and Ray Whitney. Keep in mind that last year Benn led the Stars with 39.5.

Name 2012 2011 2010
Jagr 43.2 NA NA
Whitney 39.4 48.4 42.2
Roy 48.2 57.7 47.7

It's definitely worth noting that team effects play a big part in these numbers, but any of these three guys would have led the Stars in shots/60 on the power play last season. They also have long track records of being successful players, and two of them are likely headed to the hall of fame when they retire. They have the offensive backgrounds that suggest they can help fix what ailed the Stars power play units last season.

Whether or not those past results translate into success going forward is anyone's guess at this point. The Stars had more issues on the power play last year than just Ribeiro and poor personnel. The scheme as a whole left a lot to be desired at times, particularly when the Stars would load up a pointman for a shot that inevitably rang off of a defenders shin guards.

There's work to be done, but this trio of forwards should help the Stars power play effectiveness rise considerably.

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