2013-2014 Dallas Stars Roster Analysis: Ups and Downs For Week 1

Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

With a regular non-lockout shortened season underway, we have our first Ups and Downs for the Dallas Stars. Who looked good and who is struggling?

With the lockout and the firesale at the trade deadline last year, this feature kind of became a little ridiculous to keep up with. Not so this year, as I've got a whole season (hooray!) and I'm anticipating a bit more stability personnel-wise this year.

So without further ado, our first Ups and Downs for the 2013-2014 Dallas Stars season. I look at where individuals are trending to in this handy-dandy table format. The analysis of each person is done solely by me and my observations -- sometimes I do it by committee with other writers, but I've got the ultimate say. So if you disagree on any of these, feel free to tell me in the comments! Who doesn't like a good ol' hockey debate?

Jamie BENN
2gp, 0-1-1, Even

Comments: Jamie Benn's debut as captain of the Dallas Stars didn't look like what most expected in the preseason, but his line rebounded nicely against the Washington Capitals.

Jordie BENN
2gp, 0-1-1, Even

Comments: Jordie Benn had quite possibly his best game to date in a Stars uniform on Saturday after a forgettable first outing. He's trending up on his high confidence look.

Alex CHIASSON
2gp, 2-0-2, -1

Comments: I often wonder if Alex Chiasson walks around with the song "All I Do Is Win" in his head...except all he seems to do is score goals. Eight goals in nine NHL games and a point per game pace. It's not sustainable, and his stats will come back down to earth eventually, but what a ride so far for the young rookie.

Erik COLE
2gp, 1-0-1, Even

Comments: Erik Cole has continued to show some chemistry on that top line of Benn and Tyler Seguin. That line will need to really get rolling if the Stars hope to keep winning games, though.

Kevin CONNAUTON
0gp

Comments: Kevin Connauton has yet to crack the lineup in the first two games of the season. Will we see him play in the back-to-back set this weekend?

Trevor DALEY
2gp, 0-0-0, Even

Comments: Just to shove it in Josh's face, Trevor Daley did NOT score the first goal of the season as an own goal on Kari Lehtonen. Otherwise, he's been solid back on the blue line -- which as a defenseman, isn't a bad thing.

Brenden DILLON
2gp, 1-1-2, +2

Comments: Brenden Dillon is leading the D in scoring, and is averaging nearly 20 minutes a night. He's picked up right where he left off last season it seems. Maybe he'll avoid the dreaded "sophomore slump" -- which is one of the keys to success for the Stars' blue line this year.

Cody EAKIN
2gp, 0-1-1, Even

Comments: Cody Eakin centered a line that got torched defensively against the Florida Panthers, but he rebounded for a pretty good game against the Caps.

Dan ELLIS
0gp

Comments: Dan Ellis didn't see any action in the first two games of the year. It's not surprising since Kari Lehtonen likes to get a lot of game action in at the beginning of the season. It will be interesting to see if he gets a start over the weekend -- logic says to me that he should -- but the question is which game does he play in? I'll go ahead and guess they play him against the Minnesota Wild on the second half of the back-to-back. Maybe he can start the trend of turning around that terrible record the Stars have had lately in those situations...

Vernon FIDDLER
2gp, 0-1-1, Even

Comments: Vernon Fiddler is one of the key cogs leading the Stars' top ten penalty kill right now. He's also killing it on the faceoff dot: 60.7% through two games, good for 10th in the league so far.

Ryan GARBUTT
2gp, 0-0-0, Even

Comments: Ryan Garbutt didn't last that long in the home opener loss to the Panthers before he was ejected from the game. He made it through the entire game against the Caps, however, and that game ended differently. One reason for it was giving Lindy Ruff the ability to effectively roll four lines. Survey says to keep staying in games, please.

Alex GOLIGOSKI
2gp, 0-0-0, -2

Comments: While the pairing of Alex Goligoski and Sergei Gonchar provides a lot of mobility, they've also been the worst on the defensive side too. How long does this pairing last before they either A) figure it out or B) get split and new partners?

Sergei GONCHAR
2gp, 0-0-0, -2

Comments: One of Gonchar's strengths when he was signed was noted as helping on the power play. Dallas is the 29th ranked team so far on that front, but they've also had among the fewest power play opportunities as well. Jury's still out as to where Dallas will end up on that front, but I'd like to see more puck movement from the point. Hopefully Gonchar helps with that moving forward.

Shawn HORCOFF
2gp, 0-0-0, -1

Comments: "You can't do that" Shawn Horcoff. He had one of the funniest moments of opening weekend.

Kari LEHTONEN
2gp, 1-1-0, 2.02 GAA, .938 SV%

Comments: Keep calm and Kari on. He's looked pretty solid again in net. It's the one position I think most Stars fans agree on performance-wise.

Lane MACDERMID
0gp

Comments: Hasn't gotten into the games yet this season. Hopefully gets a chance in the bottom six on the back-to-back as a set of fresh legs.

Chris MUELLER
1gp, 0-0-0, Even

Comments: Solid work for the center on the fourth line in his first game as a Dallas Star.

Valeri NICHUSHKIN
2gp, 0-0-0, -1

Comments: The numbers may not support me on this, but it seems to me that whenever I see Valeri Nichushkin on the ice, he's always carrying the puck. He seems to be a possession beast. If he keeps that up, the points will come in time.

Rich PEVERLEY
1gp, 0-0-0, Even

Comments: While Rich Peverley didn't show up on the score sheet, he was quite the spark in the Caps game on Saturday. His versatility was on display as he played in different situations. I expect him to play up in the lineup once his game conditioning is there.

Stephane ROBIDAS
2gp, 0-0-0, +2

Comments: Stephane Robidas goes about his business in such a non-flashy way, but he does it really well. He's still criminally underrated if you ask me.

Aaron ROME
0gp

Comments: Aaron Rome is still recovering from offseason hip surgery. He isn't expected back for a while.

Antoine ROUSSEL
2gp, 0-1-1, +1

Comments: Antoine Roussel is setting a great example of a bottom six forward, providing jump when he's on the ice and chipping in on the depth scoring.

Tyler SEGUIN
2gp, 0-1-1, Even

Comments: Seguin has a pretty terrible 32.2% faceoff percentage right now. That needs some serious improvement, especially if you're getting a lot of offensive zone starts -- it's good to keep the puck when you're in that zone...

Ray WHITNEY
2gp, 0-1-1, Even

Comments: Ray Whitney looked more like his self on Saturday's game, and he and Chiasson are continuing to show that offensive chemistry they had at the end of last season.
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