Stars' Youth Movement Lost in Public Perception After Signing Veterans in July

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The "veteran" Dallas Stars, so called by many media outlets because of two free agent signings, are anything but.

The following is a frivolous exercise in debunking a popular stereotype about the Dallas Stars this year and is not meant to be any sort of meaningful statistical analysis. You have been warned.

There's a human tendency that goes along with unfamiliarity to reduce a person, a thing, or a team in this case, to one memorable attribute or quality. We do it here in this space all the time, I imagine.

The Shea Weber-less Predators. The Wild with Parise and Suter. The Kings are the champs. Sidney Crosby and the Penguins. Dave Tippett's defensive minded Coyotes. The Sharks that just can't get it done when it matters. The young Oilers. The veteran Stars.

Wait, what?

A league-wide joke, until the lockout sapped all humor and life from the online hockey community, was that the Stars are SO old after signing Ray Whitney and Jaromir Jagr in July. "It's like a retirement community around there, right? Jason Arnott's still looking for a job? Hey, the Stars should sign him up too!"

Funny stuff.

Then the official NHL account tweets this last night prior to the game:

Which drew the ire of Stars' fans, though we admittedly and unrealistically expect in the heat of the moment that everyone else should know as much about our favorite team as we do. Not so, but it my piqued my curiosity.

The Dallas Stars aren't a veteran team. In fact they've had 12 players on the roster this year in their freshman or sophomore NHL seasons. (Bachman, Nilstorp, Larsen, Vincour, Jordie Benn, Oleksiak, Sceviour, Roussel, Garbutt, Dillon, Smith, Eakin).

Which is enough to make you wonder, how many more NHL games worth of experience do the Stars have on their roster right now than the Edmonton Oilers, really?

At the completion of play Wednesday night, on the roster at Oilers.nhl.com...

# NAME NHL Games
20 ERIC BELANGER ** 802
55 BEN EAGER ** 387
14 JORDAN EBERLE "A" 157
89 SAM GAGNER 376
4 TAYLOR HALL "A" 136
56 TEEMU HARTIKAINEN 38
83 ALES HEMSKY 569
10 SHAWN HORCOFF "C" ** 772
16 DARCY HORDICHUK 542
28 RYAN JONES 255
57 ANTON LANDER 60
93 RYAN NUGENT-HOPKINS 71
91 MAGNUS PAAJARVI 128
37 LENNART PETRELL 70
94 RYAN SMYTH 1161
64 NAIL YAKUPOV 10
Defencemen
# NAME
45 MARK FISTRIC 262
24 THEO PECKHAM 156
2 JEFF PETRY 118
44 COREY POTTER 77
19 JUSTIN SCHULTZ 10
15 NICK SCHULTZ "A" 773
5 LADISLAV SMID 419
25 ANDY SUTTON 676
6 RYAN WHITNEY 449
Goalies
# NAME
40 DEVAN DUBNYK 111
35 NIKOLAI KHABIBULIN 783
Total: 9368

At the completion of play Wednesday night, on the roster at Stars.nhl.com... (plus Jordie Benn, for fun)

# NAME NHL Games
14 JAMIE BENN 228
20 CODY EAKIN 41
21 LOUI ERIKSSON "A" 464
38 VERNON FIDDLER 545
40 RYAN GARBUTT 29
68 JAROMIR JAGR 1356
10 BRENDEN MORROW "C" 817
24 ERIC NYSTROM 371
60 ANTOINE ROUSSEL 4
11 DEREK ROY 555
73 MICHAEL RYDER 642
18 REILLY SMITH 12
81 TOMAS VINCOUR 77
23 TOM WANDELL 218
13 RAY WHITNEY "A" ** 1237
Defensemen
# NAME
6 TREVOR DALEY 588
4 BRENDEN DILLON 12
33 ALEX GOLIGOSKI 281
36 PHILIP LARSEN 70
43 JAMIE OLEKSIAK 4
3 STEPHANE ROBIDAS "A" 810
27 AARON ROME 178
58 Jordie Benn 11
Goalies
# NAME
31 RICHARD BACHMAN 21
32 KARI LEHTONEN 353
Total: 8924

The answer, evidently, is that the Oilers are the more veteran team. Eliminate the most and least experienced player on teach team and the gap gets even wider. Those veteran Oilers have a lot of experience.

What about AGE, though?

According to NHL Numbers the Oilers average age is 27.184, to Dallas' 27.725. Not a lot of difference there. Perception is a funny thing, though. If it's Taylor Hall and Nail Yakupov versus Jaromir Jagr and Ray Whitney, then I guess that makes the Dallas Stars a veteran team.

Just a fun lesson in not judging a book by it's cover on a slow Thursday afternoon.

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